A reflection on questions 5 and 6 from the pastoral letter by Deacon Dave Lindmeier, associate director of the diocesan Office of the Diaconate.
Q5. Of the three parables of mercy featured in the letter — Merciful Father, Good Samaritan, Workers in the Vineyard — which speaks most powerfully to you? Why?
Q6. If we are to go and do likewise, how might you put that parable to work in your life?
For me, all three parables reveal the same message: God is not fair, God is Love. It does not have anything to do with being deserving. For example, in the Parable of the Merciful Father (Prodigal Son); given the outrageous and insulting behavior the younger son engaged in, most people would probably agree with the older brother that his younger sibling did not deserve the overwhelmingly affectionate treatment he received from his father. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, given the deep and historical animosity between the Samaritans and the Jews, the battered man on the side of the road didn’t deserve the attention shown him by the Samaritan traveler. Given our notion of a “good days work for a good days pay,” the people who arrived late in the day in The Workers in the Vineyard did not deserve the pay they received from the landowner.
The message of all three is the same: God is not fair, God is love. My take away from all three parables is: Don’t be fair to people, just love them. This means I suspend judgment of others and then see how that stance manifests itself in my relationships. I believe at that point Mercy Itself will enter into the story.