Today’s gospel inspires me to think about the possibilities that open up when we choose to think of our neighbors. As I hear the story of the landowner continually setting out and inviting workers into the vineyard, I am challenged to think of all the people in our world that similarly need to be found and brought in. I am struck by the generosity of the landowner, which allowed for individuals to have a wage they may not have been able to receive otherwise. Each person was treated with respect and equality, lessening the gap between the workers. I hear Jesus encouraging us to go out and act with a similar spirit of generosity, as exemplified by the landowner. If we think about God as the landowner in the parable, we hear that God continually goes out searching for laborers and bringing them into the vineyard. In a similar way, we as Christians are encouraged to go out searching for the marginalized and bringing them in deeper into loving community, treating all people as equals with dignity. When we work to bridge the gap between each other, we acknowledge the common humanity in each one of us, which transforms not only the relationships between us but our relationship with God as well.
The world currently contains incredible suffering and difficulties, it may feel like there are a lot of reasons to turn away from it and disengage , but I think we as Christians have the power and the calling to continually respond in kindness and loving engagement in our world. There are many opportunities to exhibit kindness in our own lives, and there is so much that we can do to alleviate the suffering of one another. Even one act of selfless kindness can change the reality of another person. In the midst of all that feels overwhelming and challenging about our world, when we stop to think about our neighbors, and our deep connection to them in God, we are empowered to engage with a selfless sense of action, a true generosity that we see the landowner exhibit in the Gospel story. What happens when we choose to exercise selfless generosity as the landowner did towards others? How could we all be transformed?
Paul’s letter to the Philippians also reminds us that we have the potential to exhibit Christ through our bodies. We each carry a unique capacity in our embodied selves, to be conduits of God’s love. There is so much power in our encounters with one another. Paul’s letter depicts a struggle we might sometimes feel, trying to choose between encountering Christ or encountering each other. However in the end, Paul emphasizes that the call to magnify Christ with the body is to act with loving generosity towards others, living as witnesses to the good news of God in our world. How are we each being called to embody God’s love in our world today?
As we continue in this week, let us consider: What transformation is possible when we treat each other with an authentic sense of generosity? How are we being called to exhibit kindness in the world? How can we begin to bridge the gap between each other?
Words by Tayz Hernandez, BA in Theology and Psychology, Class of 2021