We do like closure, don’t we? We have all left a movie or finished a book with a sense of frustration because it did not end adequately. Perhaps, it just stopped without really ending, or left some scenes hanging. Scripture agrees with our frustration. It tells us that as surely as God called human history into being, God will bring it to conclusion. Time ends at the feet of Christ the king of our hearts.
Hell exists, but it is not a place created by God to punish bad people at the end of life. It is a condition of unhappiness and despair resulting from sin. The question, therefore, is not who will be counted as sheep and goats at the end of the world, but on what occasions today do we behave as sheep or as goats? We are sheep when we love our sisters and brothers; we are goats when we neglect them.
Let us re-reflect on this passage: The master entrusts his possessions to the most trusted servants. He knows their abilities, attitudes, competences, and according to these, he establishes how much to assign to each. This gentleman is clearly Christ who, before leaving the world, handed over all his goods to his disciples.
Everything good we do for the sake of Christ gives us the presence of the Holy Spirit, but prayer, which is always within our reach, is a privileged way of helping others in need. Let us pray for our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land, both Palestinians and Israelis.
If the coin had to be “returned” to Caesar because on it was stamped the face of his master, the human person must be “returned” to God. The human person is the only creature on whom the face of God is imprinted. They are sacred and no one can take them as their own. Those who make them their own (enslave, oppress, exploit, dominate, use them as objects…) should immediately return them to their Lord.
The wedding feast is the biblical image of the encounter of love between the Lord and Israel. In the parable, the bridegroom—the son—is Jesus, and the bride is the whole of humanity. The banquet is the happiness of the Messianic era. Whoever accepts the proposal of the gospel and enters the kingdom of God experiences the most authentic and deepest joy.
God intervenes to make evil serve the good, making it yield a masterpiece of salvation. In the parable in this Sunday’s Gospel reading, the end result of the intervention of the master is the delivery of the vineyard to other workers who will make it produce fruits. This is his gesture of love and salvation. Today, every Christian is a vine grower from whom the Lord expects delivery of the fruits.
Pride, lust, and avarice are ravaging the world and destroying souls. The only way to overcome sin is to strike at the root of pride. We need to conquer our fallen nature and allow God to guide us in recognizing our sins and gaining mastery over them, emerging as His true children.
It is not what we profess in words, but rather what we profess through our actions that matters to God. The undesirables of society have a stronger awareness of their unworthiness. This is why they will make it to heaven more easily than those who believe they have done God’s will by speaking the right words.
Jesus helps us understand through the parable that when we profess our faith, we must be open to God working in us and through us. It is because of this that the length of time spent or type of work we have done for God’s glory matters little. Even deathbed contrition can garner souls a place in heaven.