Is God Unfair or Just Generous?

Primo Piatto Matthew 20:1-16

God’s Generosity


“Unfair!” This is probably what we ourselves would say if we are in the shoes of those who worked the whole day and worse, received our pay last, after having seen that we received the exact amount that those who worked only for an hour. Where is justice in such a situation?

Indeed, this parable of Jesus is most difficult to explain in our times. Every time we read it, one question never escapes us: why did all the workers receive the same pay, where they worked for different hours? Bring this situation to the analysis of human resource experts, labor leaders and business CEO’s and they would say that the decisions of the landowner in the narrative is bad business practice.

In the end, those who worked the longest grumbled about the situation. They saw that their plight has even taken for the worse when the landowner explained to them the action that he had done.

However, the message of the parable is neither about unfairness nor injustice. The main lesson is the graciousness and generosity of God to those who realize, albeit late and last, that they should work for Him. At the time of the writing of the gospel, the Jews (even Jewish Christians) continue seeing themselves as the chosen ones who are special.

The parable celebrates the joyful situation of those who have come late into the fold, like the Gentiles and sinners. We see the gratuitousness of God’ love in this narrative.

  • How do I react when I see how gracious God is to people whom I think of as less deserving of his gifts?
  • Am I generous like the Father?


Pray for those who are more needy of God’s grace and mercy, the sinners and those who are ostracized and marginalized.

Lectio Divina by Fr Joel Camaya SDB

25th Sunday in OT

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