“JESUS BECOMES LEAST FOR YOU”
Saint Matthew 20. 1-16
Septuagesima: 1 February Anno + Domini 2015
Fr Jay Watson SSP
In The Name + of Jesus
Jesus tells parables. God delights in telling you stories. What does this “say” about The Lord? He loves you like dear children; enough to talk with you, teach you, and love you with His words.
The Trinity is like unto a story-teller; but what kind?
The reason “sovereignty” and omnipotence, though true, seem so often “beside the point,” is that they miss the good news. Indescribably awesome power, glory, and transcendent force, does no good without mercy and compassion. It’s not good for the man with his hand trapped under the bolder to have a fierce all-powerful blade cut his limb off at the shoulder to free him—no good for keeping his arm and hand that is. Kings seek to become emperors. Sinners always seek more sinning like stagnant water always seeks the lowest level. Emperors lust to become despots, tyrants and conquerors. You mirror these traits in your own daily interactions with your fellow man; even your fellow parishioners. You treat others not as neighbors and brethren but as enemies, obstacles, and targets of your hate. Repent.
God tells you a story that is true. The omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Triune Lord tells you a story about a Man and His kingdom—a King and His domain. He uncovers and delivers the truth. In the simile is the essence. God is not only “like unto a man” but IS Man!
The parable is Jesus. Jesus is the King God Who is the Man. His Kingdom is heaven. Heaven is not clouds, the rainbow bridge of Asgard leading to mead halls, Olympus and its human chess-boards, or cosmic nirvana where consciences are absorbed into the “over mind.” Heaven is the house of the householder. Heaven is the fruitful vineyard of the vintner—wherein wine produces gladness and olives produce soothing and beneficial oil. Heaven is home, table, and a big comfy couch!
Jesus is this kind of man. He is the Man who “went out early” to find those whom He chose to find. You can run and hide. You can refuse His seeking. You can grumble and reject what He gives. But you can’t make Him find you and you can’t participate in the decision to come into His vineyard and His household. Jesus “hires” in that Jesus saves.
To be in His vineyard means vocation, and doing the things of His Kingdom, to be sure; but it does not mean you get there, are there, by the chores, duties, and activities. This is not works-righteousness but being what He has made you to be.
Jesus went out early to rescue you and secure you.
“‘Father I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; for Thou lovest Me before the foundation of the world.’” [Jn. 17.24] The Apostle elaborates: “He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world.” [Eph. 1.4] The Householder Himself left His house and was “conceived by The Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary.”
But Adam wanted more. He wanted Himself. Your sinful self wants more. You want what you think “you’ve got coming to you” for all the things you’ve done. To demand your wages because you perceive that you have worked the most, the smartest, the hardest, and have “borne the burden and the heat of the day” is to demand only hell, for the wages of sin is death.
Jesus says to your “old Adam” “friend, I do thee no wrong.” He loves you even though you don’t deserve His mercy. He always desires your repentance. Do not murmur against the “goodman of the house” for He is The God/Man of this your new house—His Church Catholic, your banquet hall and throne room.
Jesus bore the burden of your sin and the heat of the Father’s wrath in your place. He became the very last and the very least so that you would become first in His Kingdom. You are not thrust out into outer darkness with what is yours. He ushers you to His very side and gives you all that is His.
In The Name of The Father and of + The Son and of The Holy Ghost