Saint Matthew 20:1-16a.
Book of Judges 9:6-15.
Then all the citizens of Shechem and all Beth-millo came together and proceeded to make Abimelech king by the terebinth at the memorial pillar in Shechem. When this was reported to him, Jotham went to the top of Mount Gerizim, and standing there, cried out to them in a loud voice: "Hear me, citizens of Shechem, that God may then hear you! Once the trees went to anoint a king over themselves. So they said to the olive tree, 'Reign over us.' But the olive tree answered them, 'Must I give up my rich oil, whereby men and gods are honored, and go to wave over the trees?' Then the trees said to the fig tree, 'Come; you reign over us!' But the fig tree answered them, 'Must I give up my sweetness and my good fruit, and go to wave over the trees?' Then the trees said to the vine, 'Come you, and reign over us.' But the vine answered them, 'Must I give up my wine that cheers gods and men, and go to wave over the trees?' Then all the trees said to the buckthorn, 'Come; you reign over us!' But the buckthorn replied to the trees, 'If you wish to anoint me king over you in good faith, come and take refuge in my shadow. Otherwise, let fire come from the buckthorn and devour the cedars of Lebanon.'
LORD, the king finds joy in your power; in your victory how greatly he rejoices! You have granted him his heart's desire; you did not refuse the prayer of his lips. Selah For you welcomed him with goodly blessings; you placed on his head a crown of pure gold. He asked life of you; you gave it to him, length of days forever. Great is his glory in your victory; majesty and splendor you confer upon him. You make him the pattern of blessings forever, you gladden him with the joy of your presence.
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 20:1-16a.
The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. Going out about nine o'clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
and he said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.' So they went off. (And) he went out again around noon, and around three o'clock, and did likewise. Going out about five o'clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, 'Why do you stand here idle all day?' They answered, 'Because no one has hired us.' He said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard.' When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.' When those who had started about five o'clock came, each received the usual daily wage. So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying, 'These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day's burden and the heat.' He said to one of them in reply, 'My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? (Or) am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?' Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last."
Commentary of the day
Saint Gregory the Great (c.540-604), Pope, Doctor of the Church
Homilies on the Gospel, no.19 (©Cistercian studies no.123)
The workers in the Lord's vineyard
The kingdom of heaven is said to be like a householder who hired workmen to cultivate his vineyard. Who better can we take to be the householder than our Creator, who rules over those he created, and governs his elect in the world in the same way as a master does those subject to him in his house? He has a vineyard, that is to say the universal Church, which has brought forth many saints as so many branches, from righteous Abel up to the last of the elect who will be born at the end of the world. The householder hired workmen to cultivate his vineyard, in the morning, and at the third, sixth, ninth and eleventh hours, since preachers do not cease to preach for the instruction of the faithful from the beginning of this world up to its end. The morning indeed was from Adam to the time of Noah, the third hour from the time of Noah to the time of Abraham, the sixth from the time of Abraham to the time of Moses, the ninth from the time of Moses to the coming of the Lord; and the eleventh is from the coming of the Lord to the end of the world. In this period the holy apostles, who received a full reward even though they came late, have been sent as preachers. At no time, then, did the Lord cease sending his people workmen to instruct them, to cultivate his vineyard, as it were. When he first cultivated his people through the patriarchs, and later through the teachers of the law, and then through the prophets, and at last through the apostles, he labored at the cultivation of his vineyard as if by his workmen. Everyone, though, who had the right faith with good works, in whatever capacity or measure, was a workman in his vineyard.