25th Sunday Gospel - Where were they earlier?


…6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing; and he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ 7 They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’…

Matthew 20:6-7

If they were there all day, why didn’t he hire them the first time he went to the market?


I understand parables as stories told in a simple way to make a specific point, not a real-life situation. And since the landowner is God… :shrug:


It’s a parable, so it didn’t actually happen. Jesus was just using the story to illustrate that those who had been part of God’s covenant all along (The Jewish people) were going to receive the same reward as those who joined late. (The Gentiles)

That’s what the servants hired at dawn and at the eleventh hour symbolize. The point is that God is generous with his gift of salvation.


“Standing idle” is the clue…take that and couple it with, “knock and the door will be answered, seek and you will find…”

Granted, God calls, but human frailty often keeps us from listening or hearing.


Good question. Maybe they didn’t seem eager enough. At the last hour, they realized how much they wanted the job.


Saint Augustine puts an interesting spin on the passage.

He says, in part, that it is not just about the timing of people turning to God, but has to do with Salvation History, and the equality of eternity.

As he sees it might be, the first hired is Adam, then Noah, the Patriarchs, the Prophets, and finally the Christians of this age…but all start “eternity” together at the final judgment.


You might as well have asked why the father didn’t just prevent his wayward son from leaving the house, why the shepherd couldn’t have just taken measures to prevent that one sheep from straying the herd, why someone would ever get the idea to build his house on sand, why the Samaritan didn’t just pay the innkeeper then and there, why the sower couldn’t have just sown the seeds more properly, or why that one guy got such a disproportionate treatment when he simply hadn’t followed the dress code at the wedding feast. :smiley:

The point is: they’re stories told to make a point. There’s that whole ‘suspension of disbelief’ thing at play here: they don’t need to be ‘logical’ or ‘plausible’ in order to work - I’d say even that they shouldn’t be ‘logical’ or ‘plausible’ in order to work. After all, the point is what’s important - the story is just an illustration to convey it. Suspension of disbelief is actually essential for any kind of storytelling, I’d say.


Love it!:slight_smile:

I was also thinking that the parable of the Prodigal Son and this parable are essentially the same. No matter how late you come to the Father, he will always greet you with open arms and give you equal love (pay).


Great viewpoint on it.

I also take it as warning to those of us who are Christian all or a large portion of our lives. We are laboring most of our lives, and we are not to be envious of those who have a conversion to God late in life. We are to celebrate them joining the Church and celebrate them coming to God. God will reward us with eternity in Heaven with Him. He is giving us exactly what He promised, even if we “worked” much longer than others.


You’re making a couple of assumptions:

  1. **that each time the householder went out, he went only to the market place **
    If you examine the passage, you’ll see that only on the householder’s second trip out – “at the third hour” – does the passage say he went out to the market place.

  2. that all of the idlers were present the first time the householder went out
    Even if the householder went only to the market place 5 times that day, it could well be that the idlers showed up at various times,

At Mass this morning, our priest shared an interesting thought he had heard/read. He asked “Who worked the hardest?”
The answer: The householder. He began going out and searching for workers before any had started work. And, of course, he was there working as paymaster right up until all had been given their wages,
I found this thought very meaningful when applied to Our Lord and His searching for souls.


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