It is always never too late to return to the Lord.
Three Points of the Homily:
1. What God's Justice is.
If we are having problem making sense of justice in this parable, it is because we do not yet have the same mind set of Jesus. In our First Reading it says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Is 55:8-9) We need to see this parable in a different point of view. We have to learn what God’s justice is like. Another name for God’s justice is mercy and compassion. Things are not measured according to individual output but according to need.
“Since one person is brought to a good life in childhood, another in youth, another in adulthood, another in old age, another at the age of infirmity, it is as if workmen are being called to the vineyard at different hours.” - St. Gregory the Great
2. Never too late to return to God.
John Wayne was very famous in the 1940’s and 50’s starring in major Westerns and War movies. He had four children with his first wife. In 1964, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He had two more marriages, one ending in divorce, the other lasting until his death and resulting in three children. Though he was raised Presbyterian himself, all seven of his children were raised Catholic by their mothers. When his end was near, Wayne was in agony, succumbing to stomach cancer. A priest was called, and Wayne was baptized and the priest administered last rites. That night, Wayne fell into a coma. “I don’t know the technicalities of the Church or what constitutes a conversion,” said son Michael. “But Dad did die in the Church." In 1979, he died of stomach cancer at the age of 72. In this story, Jesus clearly manifests that he is ready to accept the sinner back at anytime, even towards the end of his life once the sinner express sorrow for his sins and a desire to be reunited with God in love.
St. Gregory in his interpretation of this parable said, “Even though you have not been willing to live for God in your childhood and young adulthood, at least come to your right mind in the final time of your life. Come to the ways of life, even though you will not labor much now and are late.”
3. God wants to use us to invite people to an encounter with Him.
When the landowner asked the men, “Why are you standing here idle all day?” They said to him, “Because no one has hired us.” They are just waiting for people to come and hire them. It is also the same, many people in this world are standing idle and not practice their faith, because no one has invited them to an encounter with God and enter his vineyard by being a disciple of Jesus Christ. God wants to reach out to these people and He wants to use us to go and invite them. A good and less intimidating way to invite people is to invite them through Alpha. Inviting people to Church could be very intimidating, because they are not familiar with what we do and say in the liturgy. They also have a perception that Mass is boring.