Reread Mt 20:1-16
Generosity and jealousy go hand in hand. When work is scarce; animosity and fierce competition can rear its ugly head. As desperate circumstances mount, dehumanizing hatred can set in. Yet in Jesus’ common story with an uncommon ending, it is the pecking order of status that is challenged. Economics and the bottom line matter far less than the Vinedresser’s care for the workers of his fields. We are a people steeped in economic fears and worries. We have become a people who have no idea what Jesus talked about when he taught us to pray for “daily” bread. It is easy to let fears fuel the oppression of people, to let economic power bring about exploitation of people who are in desperate need. Yet in the kingdom of God one sees generosity to all, equality of all, regardless of merits earned. Is this socialism? Trickle down economics? Trickle up economics? No, it is generosity.
Jesus said we should make sure we pull the log out of our own eye before we help our neighbor pull the speck from their eye. It is a log in our eye that would have us see generosity as no longer a virtue. It is a log in our own eye that would have use look down on a person because of their ethnicity, their skin color, even their country of origin. In God’s economy there is enough for everyone’s need. There is plenty of meaningful work to be done, and there are enough resources that generosity and equality can be the experience of all.
Workers out in the field, especially migrant workers, face a tough life of few opportunities. Before a man name Caesar Chavez began to fight for equality and justice for these neglected people few thought deserved much of anything, the civil rights of those who do some of the most backbreaking labor of our country were not even on the radar. Like Jesus, Caesar Chavez walked among and lifted up the poor, the least, the lost and the last. It is only when we see a person as an equal that we can fully see the injustices they face. It is only when we can put people over profits that generosity can even be an option for us. But the generosity needed the most is not the sharing of coins or bits of paper with dead presidents printed on them, it is the generosity of love kept dammed up in the human heart; dammed up by the blindness of logjam. May the Lord unplug our eyes that justice can be done.
Watch: The Life of Caesar Chavez
Pray for eyes that see opportunities for generosity. Eyes that see the unseen with love. Eyes that are more concerned with the status of our own inward condition than with the arrogant eye of a fault finder, looking for reasons we are better than another, looking for reasons to not to love a person made equally in the image of God as we are.