The latecomers in today’s Gospel story are the gentile peoples to whom the Good News and the call to work in the Lord’s vineyard came late in the day. The first to respond to Jesus’ call were his own faithful followers who left everything and followed him. But the leaders of the Jewish people rejected Jesus and had him crucified. Raised from the dead by his loving Father, Jesus ascended to heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to invigorate his small band of believers, sending them into the whole world to preach the Good News of his Resurrection.
Today’s Gospel story about the hiring of manual workers reminds me of a village market scene in Kenya in East Africa where I worked for many years. The local marketplace was the centre of intense activity – women selling fruit and vegetables, others carrying loads on their heads, yet others pushing wheelbarrows stacked with bags of cement or pushing hand-carts laden with drums of water for household needs. All the while the throb of African music blared from the transistors of the ‘Boda Boda’ motorcycle taxis dropping people off or taking them on, 2 or 3 to a bike. Everyone was busy making the few bob that would help feed their family for another day.
All have a right to work. Work is participation in the creative act of God. We earn our daily bread by the sweat of our brow. Work is sacred. We owe so much to the likes of our ‘Boda Boda’ drivers, to those who plant the seeds that give us our bread.
The Covid-19 crisis has taught us of our ‘inter-connectedness’. It doesn’t matter who we are or where we come from, whether we are early or late, God wants us to share in the bliss of the resurrected life forever. All we have to do is to wait till he calls us.