August 18, 2021

Our gospel reading today offers us quite the challenge. We have the owner sending workers into his vineyard, with some working the whole day and others working fewer hours or for a mere hour. When the day’s wages are distributed, every worker gets the same amount. There is a revolt as some of the earlier workers feel cheated. They claimed that it wasn’t fair for them to get the same wages after working a whole day, and those working for an hour got the same amount. The owner would have none of that; he gave them what he promised them and countered, “Am I not free to do as I wish with my money?”

We Americans have a profound sense of justice that we are entitled to receive and keep what we have rightfully earned. This parable is rather disturbing, but it is not about us, but about God whose bounty knows no boundaries. The absolute proof of his limitless love for all was manifested in the life and ministry of Jesus. He ate with prostitutes, tax collectors, and sinners. He fed the five thousand. He healed Samaritans, Canaanites, Romans. There were seemingly no limits to his love and care.

The night before he died, gathered with his disciples, Jesus prayed intensely that all would be one in him; he then instituted the Eucharist as the source of the unity of his followers and food for saints and sinners. Sadly, this very Eucharist has become a battleground in today’s polarized church as to who is invited to the Table. The members of the LGBT community, those divorced and remarried, and some politicians who disagree with the church’s teaching on the legality of abortion have been targets of exclusion in recent times.

Let us pray to the Lord of the Eucharist to help us work to be, like Jesus, open to all in love.

Let Us Pray:

Jesus, you prayed intensely the night before you died that all might be one in you as you are one with your Father. Give us the grace we need to work against our impulses to break that unity and exclude others. You gave us, sinners, the Eucharist as our essential food for our journey. Impel us to welcome all to the table. Amen.


Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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About Patrick Riley

Patrick is an Associate of the Blessed Sacrament at St Paschal Baylon Church in Cleveland, Ohio. He is the Book Review Editor for Emmanuel Magazine.