Learn to be contented and thankful

THAT gospel parable about the Kingdom of heaven likened to a landowner who hired laborers for his vineyard at different hours of the day (cfr. Mt 20,1-16) strongly reminds us that we should be contented and thankful for whatever God gives us. We have to be wary of comparing ourselves with others which can easily give rise to the dangers of self-righteousness and envy.

God gives us everything that we need not only to survive in our earthly affairs but more importantly in our ultimate purpose in life, which is our sanctification, our salvation when we would finally become, as God wants us to be, his image and likeness, his children, sharers of his divine life and nature.

As the parable narrated, the landowner hired workers because they appeared to be without job and were simply idle. This can mean that God is the one who gives us the real work in our life. Without him, we end up idle even if we appear to be busy with a lot of things which, if they are not from God and for God, are really worthless.

That the landowner promised to pay each of them the usual daily wage can mean that the reward for all our work that is done in our earthly life would be same, irrespective of when we are called by God. And that can only be to be with God in heaven for all eternity.

The important thing here is simply to carry out the duties and responsibilities inherent in our being children of God as articulated in our concrete conditions here on earth. We give all that we can which, of course, would vary according to the different conditions in our life.

Let us remind ourselves that our differences are meant to develop, if not enrich, everyone through the dynamics of complementation and supplementation. Let’s see to it that we are not unduly entangled with the unavoidable tension and conflict, and that we manage to go past them and see the bigger picture.

What is incumbent on us is to give what we have, what has been entrusted to us by God—our talents and other gifts—as much as we could for the common good. This is where our true joy and self-fulfillment are. It’s in giving that we truly love, and that we truly get blessed.

We have to be quick in cutting envy every time it makes us its port of call. We have to let it know immediately that it is unwelcome. And the way to do it is to go to Christ immediately, praying, sacrificing, and reminding ourselves of Christ’s example and teaching.

We need to remember that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, however we are placed and situated in life. Not everyone can be bright, talented, successful, etc. Some have to do the menial job, take care of the little things, be at the background.

We should not feel inferior to anyone because we are all children of God, equally loved by him although shown in different ways. Everyone has the same dignity and vocation, though lived and pursued in different ways.

We have to love everyone as Christ has loved all of us, without exception. He even told us to love our enemies. But given our human weakness, we need to be more pro-active in living out what St. Paul once advised: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.” (Phil 2,3)

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