A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew. Matthew 20:1-16.
The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner, a rich man, that went out very early in the morning looking for workers for his vineyard (grape field). The man agreed to pay one silver coin to each worker for one day. He sent them to work in the vineyard (grape field). At nine o’clock in the morning the rich man went out again. He saw some people in the market place standing idle, doing nothing. He said to them, ‘You go and work in my vineyard (grape field), and I will pay you a fair wage.’ So they went.
Then at twelve o’clock midday, and again at three o’clock in the afternoon, the rich man went out and asked more men to work in the vineyard (grape field). At about five o’clock , the man went out again and found more people standing. He said to them, ‘Why are you standing here, doing nothing?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one gave us a job.’ So the rich man said to them, ‘You go and work in my vineyard (grape field),’
In the evening, the rich man said to the manager, ‘Tell the workers to come. Pay them their wages. First, pay those that started to work late in the afternoon. Then the workers that began work early in the morning pay them last.’
So the workers that started to work late in the afternoon came, and they received one silver coin each. Then the workers that began to work early in the morning came, and they expected to receive more money. But they also received one silver coin each. They grumbled, and said to the rich man, ‘Those that started late in the afternoon only worked for one hour. You payed them one silver coin each. We worked hard all day in the hot sun, but you pay us, one silver coin each, the same as them!’
The rich man answered one of them, ‘My friend, you remember this morning we both agreed that I would pay you one silver coin?’ I am being fair. Take your money and go. I can decide how much I want to pay workers. It is my decision, my money. Why are you jealous because I am generous?’ So the people that are last will be first, and the people that want to be first will be last.
The Gospel of the Lord