Monday, September 19, 2011

Dispositions for Discipleship 1

In Sunday's Gospel there are various dispositions of discipleship that are taught as the parable unfolds. Let's look at them each in turn:

I. The AVAILABILITY of discipleship – the text says, A landowner went at dawn to hire laborers to work in his field….He went later and found others standing idle….Why do you stand idle here all day?

Now it is clear that what we have described here are “day workers.” These were men, much like the Latino men of our day, who stood in public places hoping to be hired for the day. It was a tough life for, if you worked, you ate, if you didn’t you’d have little or nothing to eat. They were (are) called day laborers because they were hired only on a day to day basis, as needed. This is a terrible form of poverty for its vicissitude and men like these were (are) the poorest of the poor.

But note how their poverty, their hunger, makes them available. Each morning they show up and are ready, are available to be hired. Their poverty also motivates them to seek out the land owner and indicate that they are ready and willing to work. The well fed, and otherwise employed, do not show up, are not available. There’s something about poverty that makes these men available. Because their glass is empty, it is able to be filled.

But these men are us. We are the poor who depend on God for everything. Sometimes we don’t want to admit that, but we are. And every now and then it is made plain to us how poor, vulnerable and needy we really are. And this tends to make us seek God. In our emptiness, poverty and powerlessness, suddenly, there is room for God. Suddenly our glass, too often filled with the world, is now empty enough for God to find room. And in our pain we stand ready for God to usher us into the vineyard of his kingdom. An old gospel song says, Lord, I’m available to you, my storage is empty and I am available to you. It is our troubles that make us get up and go out with the poor to seek the Lord and be available to him. When things are going too well, Lord knows where we are to be found! Another gospel song says, Lord don’t move my mountain but give me the strength to climb it. Don’t take away my stumbling block but lead me all around. Cause Lord when my get a little too easy you know I tend to stray from thee.

Yes, we might wish for a trouble free life, but then, where would we be? Would we seek the Lord, would we make ourselves available to God, would we ever call on him at all?
H/T to Msgr. Charles Pope