The workers in the vineyard
1 This story throws light on the kingdom of heaven. A landowner went out
early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard.
2 He agreed to pay the workers a salary of a silver coin for the day, and
sent them to his vineyard.
3 He went out again at about nine in the morning, and seeing others idle in
4 he said to them: ¡®You, too, go to my vineyard and I will pay you what is
just.¡¯ So they went.
The owner went out at midday and again at three in the afternoon,
5 and he did the same.
6 Finally he went out at the last working hour ¨C it was the eleventh ¨C and
he saw others standing there. So he said to them: ¡®Why do you stay idle the
7 They answered: ¡®Because no one has hired us.¡¯ The master said: ¡®Go and
work in my vine yard.¡¯
8 When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager: ¡®Call
the workers and pay them their wage, beginning with the last and ending with
9 Those who had come to work at the eleventh hour turned up and were given a
denarius each (a silver coin).
10 When it was the turn of the first, they thought they would receive more.
11 But they, too, received a denarius each. So, on receiving it, they began
to grumble against the landowner.
12 They said: ¡®These last hardly worked an hour, yet you have treated them
the same as us who have endured the day¡¯s burden and heat.¡¯
13 The owner said to one of them: ¡®Friend, I have not been unjust to you.
Did we not agree on a denarius a day?
14 So take what is yours and go. I want to give to the last the same as I
give to you.
15 Don¡¯t I have the right to do as I please with my money? Why are you
envious when I am kind?¡¯
16 So will it be: the last will be first, the first will be last.¡±
Third prophecy of the passion
17 When Jesus was going to Jeru salem, he took the Twelve aside and said to
them on the way,
18 ¡°See, we are going to Jerusalem. There the Son of Man will be given over
to the chief priests and the teachers of the Law who will condemn him to
19 They will hand him over to the foreigners who will mock him, scourge him
and crucify him. But he will be raised to life on the third day.¡±
The mother of James and John asks for the first seats
20 Then the mother of James and John came to Jesus with her sons, and she
knelt down to ask a favor.
21 Jesus said to her, ¡°What do you want?¡± And she answered, ¡°Here you have
my two sons. Grant that they may sit, one at your right and one at your
left, when you are in your kingdom.¡±
22 Jesus said to the brothers, ¡°You do not know what you are asking. Can you
drink the cup that I am about to drink?¡± They answered, ¡°We can.¡±
23 Jesus replied, ¡°You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right or
at my left is not for me to grant. That will be for those for whom the
Father has prepared it.¡±
24 The other ten heard all this and were angry with the two brothers.
25 Then Jesus called them to him and said, ¡°You know that the rulers of the
nations act as tyrants, and the powerful oppress them.
26 It shall not be so among you; whoever wants to be more important in your
group shall make himself your servant.
27 And if you want to be first, make yourself the servant of all.
28 Be like the Son of Man who has come, not to be served but to serve and to
give his life to redeem many.¡±
29 As they left Jericho, a great crowd followed them on the way.
30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that
Jesus was passing by, they be gan to call out, ¡°Son of David, have mercy on
31 The people told them to keep quiet. But they shouted even louder, ¡°Lord,
Son of David, have mercy on us!¡±
32 Jesus stopped, called out to them and asked, ¡°What do you want me to do
33 They said, ¡°Lord, open our eyes.¡±
34 Jesus was moved with compassion and touched their eyes. Imme diately they
recovered their sight and they began to follow Jesus.
Comments Mathew, Chapter 20
• 20.1 THE MASTERS
Many are surprised at this parable. They find it un fair to give the same
reward to everyone, without taking into account the labor and sacrifices of
Without doubt Jesus wanted to shock us and shatter the idea we obstinately
cling to: that we have merits that God must recognize. How ever we should
pay closer attention to the story: Jesus makes a comparison, not of several
laborers, but of several groups of laborers. Each group represents a nation
or a social class, and while some of them have long ago received the word of
God, others have just become believers.
All throughout history, God has been calling different people to work in his
vineyard. He called Abra ham first and placed his descendants in charge of
his work in the world. Later on, during the time of Mo ses many others
joined his group in order to leave Egypt and that has continued throughout
history. The elders never cease to claim their right to receive better
treatment than the others. Actually the vineyard has not been confided to
Then, with the coming of Christ, the Gospel was brought to other nations
that were until then pagan. They came into the Church and shaped
Christianity. They also claimed to be owners of the kingdom of God and the
To this day, there are also social groups that are amazed when the Church
criticizes their demand for privileges and does not assign them the first
benches in the temple for they had always believed that the Church was
In this parable, all are treated on equal terms and receive one silver coin
each. Let them be happy for having been invited to work, as they were
• 20. See commentary on Mark 10:35. Compare Matthew 20:23 and Mark 10:46.