Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 20:1-16a.
Jesus told his disciples this parable: "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."
Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, USCCB
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“You too go along to my vineyard”
Anonymous 9th century author in present-day Italy
Homily for Septuagesima, 4-7
My beloved, persevere in the good works you have begun… Unfortunate people serve an earthly king, thus putting their life in danger and facing enormous difficulties for a benefit that passes and disappears very quickly. Why would you not serve the king of heaven so as to obtain the happiness of the Kingdom? Since by faith the Lord has already called you to his vineyard, that is to the unity of the holy Church, live, behave in such a way that, thanks to God’s generosity, you might receive the coin, that is to say, the happiness of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Let no one despair because of the greatness of his sins and say: “The sins in which I persevered until old age and even extreme old age are many; now I will no longer be able to obtain forgiveness, above all since it is the sins that have left me, not I who have rejected them.” May that person absolutely not despair of divine mercy, for some are called to God’s vineyard at the first hour, others at the third, others at the sixth, others at the ninth, others at the eleventh. That is to say that some are led to God’s service when they are children, others when they are adolescents, others in their youth, others in old age, others in extreme old age.
Thus let no one despair, regardless of how old he is, if he wants to turn back to God… Work faithfully in the Church’s vineyard to receive the salary of eternal happiness and to reign with Christ forever and ever.