25th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A 19th / 20th September, 2020

This gospel offers yet another challenge to human ideas about what is just and reveals the generosity of God. The Master makes a point of having those who came last paid first. One must imagine the queue, with the newly arrived workers at the head and those tired from a full day’s labour watching as the late-comers are paid in full. In many ways, the audience is drawn into sharing their disappointment and indignation. If those employed early had been at the head of the queue, they would have gone off happy with their contracted wage. The problem arises only when they see the latecomers reaping the same reward. This alludes to a problem that has arisen in Matthew’s community. Those Jewish Christians who have risked all and believed from the beginning are now seeing the newcomers to faith being offered the same reward. Jesus’ answer is simple: the kingdom is God’s. God can do as he likes, and what God chooses is to welcome all and offer reward to all who come to belief, no matter at what stage.