View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Yes, there are lawyers in heaven

Today’s Gospel reading is Matthew 20, 1-16

It’s the story of the landowner who keeps hiring workers throughout the day to labor in his vineyard. Some worked all day, some just an hour, yet all got paid just the same.

I remember when I was younger (okay, a lot younger!), this story used to bug me.

It didn’t seem fair that some of the workers worked all day, yet got the same as the slackers.

I mean, why did Kevin M get to be a lawyer and take over his dad’s comfortable practice even after goofing around throughout school and going on those skiing trips and driving that sports car he got as a birthday gift, while I worked my buns off to earn money and win scholarships and … (oops, getting off on a tangent!)

Anyway, I thought the workers who worked hard should have gotten something more, or, at the least, the ones who worked less should have gotten a prorated amount.

But Jesus began this story by saying this situation was like the kingdom of heaven.

How do you prorate heaven?

You fooled around until you repented late in life, so you only get half or a third of heaven?

Maybe you get a lumpy cloud? Or you get stuck being a guardian angel to a mobster – or an accountant.

And if you worked hard all your life, how can you get something extra?

Do you get to SUPERSIZE your heaven?

Fluffier wings, maybe. Perhaps a harp that keeps in tune better.

Of course, that’s nonsense.

Heaven is heaven. All who are there are eternally immersed in the loving embrace and the beatific vision of God.

Nothing can be better than absolute joy. Absolute joy can’t be lessened. It is.

Once we get there – God willing – we are not going to care who worked more or less than us.

For if we still care about such things, we will not be in heaven. Not yet, anyway. Maybe never if we continue to cling to resentments and jealousies.

And I’d trade a cushy law practice for heaven any day.

Maybe I'll even run into Kevin there.


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