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EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST  

This is the day the LORD hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.    

Isaiah 55;6-9 Phil. 1:1-5,19-27 Matthew 20:1-16 Psalm 106:7,8      

The lesson today is not about rewards but about salvation. It is a strong teaching about grace, God's generosity. This parable of the laborers in the vineyard and the all of the LORD into His kingdom has always been considered a serious and searching lesson. But there is as much loving comfort as serious warning in the story.      

Peter thought the disciples should receive a reward for being faithful followers of Jesus. Jesus used the parable to teach the disciples that rewards which He gives are not earned. In this parable, God is the landowner, and the believers are the workers. The parable speaks especially to those who feel superior because of heritage or position, or because they have spent so much time with Christ.      

This parable is mystifying to even the most opened minded. At the end of the day a landowner pays all the workers the same wage, whether they worked for one hour or toiled all day under the hot son. He chooses to be generous on his terms. But common sense tells us that this arrangement is unfair. We like to get a just reward for the faithful work that we do. After all, we are good and decent people.This parable makes pious people angry and some even wonder why they should be religious or moral at all if things are going to turn out this way.      

The last will be first, and first will be last, Jesus says following the parable. God's grace is simply beyond our comprehension. Divine mercy is not based on fairness, but on God's loving initiative.        

Christians friend, This parable may make some us squirm in bewilderment or anger, divine generosity is for us as well, especially when we are envious or ungrateful. We gather each Sunday for worship, trusting that we will be transformed by God's love and compassion at any and all hours of the day.  

Salvation unto us has come                                                                                                  By God's free grace and favor;                                                                                      Good works cannot avert our doom,                                                                         Thy help and save us never.  

PRAY with me- Keep, we pray You, O LORD, Your Church with Your perpetual mercy; and because without You we cannot but fall, keep us ever by Your help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen      

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