Step #1: Lectio / Read
Click the link below or open your Bible to the passage and read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
Jesus loved to teach in parables, stories that were meant to be memorable and were powerful analogies to highlight something about his mission, Kingdom, or the spiritual life. As a rich story of images, each parable invites us to a prayerful unpacking of God’s message.
Perhaps you can pick one of these three questions for your prayer today. The first is, which group of laborers’ do you identify most with in today’s story? The divine landowner goes out to call groups of people who are idle throughout the day, he offers them a relationship, work, the promise of payment, and a mission for the day, and companions to labor alongside. Each group responds at different moments in their day/life. Which one to you identify with?
Secondly, after letting your heart rest in one of these groups of people who labor in the Lord’s kingdom, ask yourself, where was my market place moment with the Lord? Notice how the Divine landowner keeps returning to invite people into his mission, friendship and Kingdom. Some responded right away, some much later in the day. The Divine Landowner never stops looking, searching, calling and inviting. Where and how has the Lord sought you out and offered you relationship in your life? Who did he do that through (a friend, the Church, personal prayer, the sacraments etc.)?
Finally, ask yourself, is there any part of my heart that is bitter, or resentful toward the wage God has given me thus far in my life? One way to understand the ‘wages’ in the parable are as God’s gift of Mercy and salvation. The first group, however, seems to have lost sight of this gift of God’s mercy, and began to compare God’s dealings with them with how He treats others. They forget that they too were once idle and were offered redemption, and they began to think that God owed them something, or that they were more special than the last group because of their extra time spent in the vineyard. This is a subtle temptation in the Christian life, to lose sight of God’s bountiful love and mercy for us, and thus a desire to share it with those who haven’t tasted this gift, and instead, think of our meager efforts in ministry, and how much we deserve God’s love or are more deserving than others. When we get into the habit of looking at how God has blessed me compared with others, and thus feeling jealous, proud, sad, or left out, we miss how much God has tried to, and is, loving us and calling us to share this love. We stop thinking how blessed we are to be with God and start wondering why God has forgotten how blessed he is to be in relationship with us.
Let today’s readings shed light on how the Lord wants this parable to open your hearts to be more joyful laborer’s in His vineyard.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
Which group of people in today's parable do I most identify with? When and where did I first respond to the Lord?
Where and how has the Lord sought me out and offered me a relationship with Him? Who or what did he do that through (a friend, the Church, personal prayer, the sacraments etc.)?
Is there any part of my heart that is bitter, or resentful toward the wage God has given me thus far in my life?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"Love and mercy."
"The Lord is generous."
"The Lord seeks me out."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Consider where you are feeling jealous, and when you catch yourself feeling jealous, take the time instead to find a way to act generously toward someone else.
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Today’s prayer was prepared by Jon Polce, SJ.
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