A queue is a very simple system the world have adopted to maintain fairness. When the last tries to be first and succeeds, the order of things is broken and pandemonium breaks out. We have been working in the same firm for 20 years and they go out to hire another person as business expands and pay the newcomer a higher wage. Or we have been overlooked and someone younger gets promoted. Pandemonium breaks out in our heart.
Queuing overnight for a concert ticket and not getting it is merely tough luck. We envy those who got them but this envy rarely kills. However when it comes to possessions, money and prestige, we jealously guard what we have and race to get even more. The ways of the world has programmed us to compete to be ahead of the other. Such comparisons can fill us with envy. And such envy kills.
What is the end reward of life? We all know the correct answer. Some of us are so focused and live a good life that we are spiritually knocking on heaven’s door. While others continue to indulge in the ways of the world and constantly postponing the decision to wait by heaven’s door. But is there a queue?
Today’s parable where the landowner pays every worker regardless of hours clocked the same wage of one denarius tell us everything about the generosity of God. We must still hurry to in our worldly ways but there isn’t a queue to get into heaven.
For every one of us, for each of us there is already a room waiting for us in heaven. No one can queue ahead to take it from us. It is ours no matter how far now we are from God in our worldly ways. The room is for us to refuse and God waits till the last hour to hand us our one denarius.
Hence there is no need to jostle among ourselves. But we need to jostle in our self to sort out the pandemonium in our heart. There is no race with the neighbor. The comparison of ‘being better’ does not exist with God. To claim or refuse our room is simply to be good or bad, not better or worse. There is no need for any envy that kills. Instead we are called into life-giving generosity.
To be good is to receive the generosity of God and to pass it on to others. With our own rooms assured, we must generously venture from the daybreak of our life to its eleventh hour to try to bring along others to claim their rooms. God plays us as his instruments to lead others into his heavenly concert.
Generosity is born out of true love. True love in this world is to accept our one denarius and hope that all others get it too. ”For my thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways not your ways”. Love is the ticket to the heavenly concert of eternal life. We all have ours reserved. We claim it by making our ways, the Lord’s ways. Not by queuing to be first.
25th Sunday in Ordinary Time