There are plenty of shifty characters in the Scriptures. We see one of them today in the person of Abimelech, in our first reading from Judges 9. He killed all of his brothers, save one, so that he would be made king. The one brother who manages to escape, Jotham, goes to the top of Mt. Gerizim and tells a story about how Abimelech is not a worthy successor to the throne. Though we don’t see it in today’s reading, Abimelech did not have a good end.
In the Gospel reading today from Matthew 20, Jesus tells a parable about a landowner who goes into town to hire workers for his vineyard. He hires some at the beginning of the day, others late in the morning, others in the afternoon, and some very late in the day. At the end of the day, he pays them all the same wage. Naturally, the ones who worked the whole day were upset. They protested. But the landowner replies, “Are you envious because I am generous?” And Jesus finishes with, “Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
This story teaches us that it is never too late to come into the Kingdom of heaven. If you have been spending your whole life “on the outside looking in,” don’t waste another moment! The invitation is there. And your reward will still be great! Just remember…you never know when the gates might close. The time is now to seize the day!!
Father, we thank you for always inviting us into the Kingdom. Forgive us for our procrastination. Give us the grace to jump in with both feet, and to invite others in with us! Amen.