Pope Francis: God calls everyone

Pope at Angelus: God calls everyone, and calls always

At the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis reflects on the parable of the workers in the vineyard, heard in the day’s Gospel, and elaborates on two ways God acts.

By Vatican News

In his reflection on Sunday’s Gospel, Pope Francis highlighted two attitudes of the landowner in Jesus’s parable about the workers in the vineyard: the “call” and the “recompense.”

Calling everyone, calling always

Jesus tells of a landowner who “goes out and calls” people to work in his vineyard. “That owner,” said Pope Francis, “represents God, who calls everyone and calls always.” This is how God acts even today, and we, in turn, are called to imitate this attitude by going out to seek people wherever they may be.

“This means being open to horizons that offer hope to those stationed on the existential peripheries,” the Pope said, people “who have not yet experienced, or who have lost, the strength and light that comes with meeting Christ.”

He added, “The Church must always be like God, always going out. And when the Church is not going out, she gets sick.” Pope Francis said it is better for the Church to be “going out” announcing the Gospel, despite the dangers, than to grow sick by remaining closed in on herself. “God always goes out, because He’s a Father Who loves – and the Church always needs to do the same thing, always going out.”

Going beyond justice

The second attitude of the landowner also mirrors the action of God. When he pays the workers their wages, the owner gives all of them the same pay, no matter how long they worked. From this we understand “that Jesus is not speaking about work and just wages, but about the Kingdom of God and the goodness of the heavenly Father,” said Pope Francis.

God “does not look at the time and the results,” the Pope continued. Instead, He considers “the availability and the generosity with which we put ourselves at His service.” This way of acting, said Pope Francis, “is more than just, in the sense that it goes beyond justice and is manifested in Grace.”

Those who rely on their own merits “find themselves last,” the Pope explained, while “those who humbly entrust themselves to the Father’s mercy, from being last, find themselves first.”

The field and the vineyard

Pope Francis concluded his Angelus address with the prayer that “Mary Most Holy might help us to feel every day the joy and wonder of being called by God to work for Him, in His field which is the world, and His vineyard which is the Church.”

And he prayed that we might “have as our only recompense [God’s] love, Jesus’s friendship, which is everything for us.”

We think of justice in terms of what is fair, of what people deserve. So we would say that the people who worked longer deserved more. But God doesn’t see it that way. God thinks of justice in terms of people’s dignity, their right to a decent life.

The people who came late had the same right to a decent life as those who had worked all day, so they are all treated equally. Nothing is taken from anyone, but all are treated in accord with their dignity, their right to a decent life. Such is God’s justice.

  “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.” Perhaps we would have a better world if we were to adopt some of God’s ways. After all, “the Lord is just in all his ways,” and that is something which cannot be said of all our ways.

  “Father, guide us according to your law of love.” Free us from our law of vindictive justice.   

   Gerald Darring            https://liturgy.slu.edu