My Dear Sisters and Brothers!
In the Gospel we have been given a parable about God who makes the first move: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner going out at daybreak to hire workers for his vineyard.’ However it is not the end of his seeking. We see God who goes out at 9am. He does the same at 12pm and 3pm. In fact we see him again at 6pm going out to seek workers for his vineyard. It is hard to miss him, isn’t it? However the One who told the parable was not simply a story teller he was the Seeker. He made the first move, he chose to be near.
In the Gospel of John, in the very first chapter, we read about Jesus being baptised by John the Baptist. John the Apostle, who first was a disciple of the Baptist and later became the beloved disciple of Jesus, recorded in his Gospel that the following day Jesus came again to the place where the Baptist with his disciples were ministering to the people near the Jordan River. And he came back the day after. On that third day Andrew and another disciple of the Baptist followed Jesus to see the place where he lived. The first thing Andrew did after that was to go to his own brother Simon, who would be called Peter, and to tell him: ‘We have found the Messiah.’ However my question is: who found who? Was it really Andrew who found Jesus? Or was it Jesus who found Andrew? Jesus appeared more determined to find Andrew.
Isaiah in the First Reading wrote: ‘Call to God while he is still near.’ After the three visits from Jesus, Andrew made the right call when he said: ‘Teacher, where do you live?’ His excitement from seeing the place where Jesus lived wasn’t about the grandeur mansion, as Jesus did not have such accommodation, but it was about discovering in Jesus the eternal wisdom of the Almighty: ‘The heavens are as high above earth as my ways are above your ways, my thoughts above your thoughts.’ What thrilled Andrew wasn’t however a university degree in wisdom which he could show off in front of his friends and relations but a relationship he was invited to have with God who became visible in the person of Jesus Christ. Andrew got it right. He became a good worker in the vineyard of the Lord if we use the expression from the Gospel today. Andrew did what Jesus did to him. Andrew went to seek for his brother Simon. Andrew wasn’t possessive of what he found after being found by Jesus.
My Dear Fellow believers! Please don’t remember from today’s Gospel only the workers who were hired at daybreak. It is easy to remember them because they ‘grumbled at the landowner.’ They were the people making big noises. Such people usually attract attention of others, don’t they? However it is not they who have a message for us. The message comes from the people who were hired at 9am, 12pm, 3pm and 6pm. Why? Because they exhibited something out of this world. They went to work without knowing how much they would be paid. University can educate people in economics but not in trust. Trust in God however is the talent much needed. It is the talent we are called to share in a quiet way with our sisters and brothers who may be still in the market place of the world like those workers from the Gospel.
The next time you hear from someone that they cannot see God, that they cannot find him, reflect whether it is because you haven’t taken them to Jesus. May the Andrew, who took to Jesus the first Pope, be an inspiration for you and me.