THE SCANDALOUS GOODNESS OF GOD
It was probably Autumn and in the villages of Galilee they were intensely going through the harvest. In the plazas Jesus saw those who didn’t have their own land, waiting to be contracted in order to earn sustenance for that day. How to help these poor people feel the mysterious goodness of God toward them?
Jesus told them a surprising parable. He spoke of a landowner who contracted all the day workers he could. He himself went to the plaza of the village over and over again, at different times. At the end of the workday, although the work had been absolutely unequal, he gave them all a denarius: what their family needed to live.
The first group protests. They don’t complain about receiving more or less money. What offends them is that the landowner has «treated the last ones the same as us». The landowner’s response to the one who is the spokesperson is admirable: «why should you be envious because I am generous?».
The parable is so revolutionary that surely after twenty centuries we still don’t dare to take it seriously. Is it true that God is generous even with those who scarcely present themselves before God with merits and works? Is it true that in God’s heart of Father there are no privileges based on the work more or less meritorious of those who have worked in God’s vineyard?
All of our schemes totter when God’s free and unfathomable love puts in an appearance. That’s why it ends up scandalous to us that Jesus seems to forget the «pious», carrying merits, and comes close to those who have no right to any recompense whatsoever on God’s part: sinners who don’t observe the Covenant or prostitutes who have no access to the Temple.
We sometimes enclose ourselves in our calculations, without letting God be good to all. We don’t tolerate God’s infinite goodness toward all: there are people who don’t merit it. It seems to us that God must give to each one their due, and only their due. Too bad God isn’t like us. From God’s heart of Father, God knows how to even give God’s saving love to those people whom we don’t know how to love.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf