Who of us could not hear the parable of the workers in the vineyard and not feel at least a little sympathetic to those who worked the full day in the heat of the sun and received the same as those who barely broke a sweat? Our economic system of free enterprise is not much different than the other systems throughout history in the way that it rewards hard work, creativity and ingenuity while leaving itself open to manipulation and corruption. Every system has its rich and its poor. Every system is judged, ultimately, by the majority of its members who gage its fairness by materialistic criteria and every system falls short of satisfying all its members. It’s part of our human condition and so ingrained in our psyche are the imperfections, that God’s way of leveling the playing field finds little opportunity for understanding on our part. If I attain the heavenly reward God promises will I complain to find those who converted on their death beds enjoying the same Peace and Joy? Will there be those who look down at me and wonder how I managed to “squeak in?”
Thomas Jefferson was not Catholic but he was an ardent student of philosophical thought when he included in our Declaration of Independence from tyranny those words of truth, recognizing God’s omnipotence and our relationship to Him: …all men are created equal… None of us can claim to be more endearing to Our Father than the other. The great Truth of Jesus Christ is that His crucified love for each and every one of us was perfect and without degree or any form of degradation. He died for each of us: black, white, yellow, red, brown… American, Asian, European, African, Chinese, Middle Eastern… Catholic, Protestant, Atheist, Muslim, Jew… male or female. Every form of measurement that we apply to the human person is non-existent to God. When I look across the globe at the many others in the world can I admit to God, you have made them equal to us? Can I even begin to fathom that kind of Love and Mercy?
The sad reality is that we, in our weakened and imperfect human condition, too often turn our backs on God’s perfect Love and Mercy and—again, too often—turn our backs on those who need help knowing it.