When we hear this Gospel, it is easy for us to focus on whether God is fair or not, but forget about God's generosity. We also tend to identify ourselves with those who were hired earlier, felt undervalued for our contributions and hoping for fair and reasonable rewards. However, we forget that “being employed” itself is a blessing, and having the privilege to receive God's invitation to build the Kingdom of God on earth is a great honour!
The focus of this story should be on the relationship between the master and the hired workers (us), rather than a comparison among the workers themselves. Jesus wants us to focus on the compassionate love of the Master (our Heavenly Father) towards us. He doesn't want us to feel abandoned, worthless, or excluded from the Master's work, “standing idle” and feeling like we don't have a role to play. Therefore, regardless of our stage in life, how much time we have left on earth, or the extent of our abilities, it is God’s desire that we are given the opportunity to contribute to building up His kingdom. Whether it's using our spiritual gifts and energy to spread the Gospel and serve the Church, or dedicating our time and love to care for and serve the hidden Christ in the society, our Heavenly Father, like the master in the Gospel, cares about our situation and hopes that we feel "included"!
On the contrary, if we focus on the rewards and are unwilling to enter the Lord's vineyard to work for Him, we will be in trouble. We become like the servants who did not use their talents wisely or like the unprepared virgins in the Bible. Not only will we be unable to enter and share in the blessings that the Master has prepared for us, but even the gifts that have been given to us will be taken away.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways," says the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Therefore, we should break away from worldly thinking, immerse ourselves in the gaze and embrace of our Heavenly Father's mercy, seize the opportunity to enter the vineyard to work for the Lord and spread the Gospel. We must not become lazy or harbour a sense of luck, thus missing the opportune moment to respond to God's call.
Ultimately, "sanctification" - making ourselves worthy of being called the children of God - is the core mission of our lives. Entering the Lord's vineyard is the gateway to spiritual growth and fulfilling that mission. The talents that God has given us, whether they are our abilities, time, wealth, or other resources, are all capital for us to participate in His work of salvation. They are for us to work in the Lord's vineyard, and not for us to hoard. We should not expect to take them with us when our earthly life is complete. All of these are tools provided for us to use wisely in this world. In fact, the more we can use and share the resources which God has entrusted with us, the richer we will be in the Kingdom of Heaven. Indeed, what we can truly take with us is our selfless giving on earth.