Being Summoned

September 24, 2017

In today’s Gospel we can easily focus on the generosity of God.  It is wonderful that He is so generous with His mercy and His love.  Yet today there is another aspect of God that we can open up and reflect on; that is the landowner who constantly goes to where the workers are at.  He goes out at dawn to find the eager and energetic.  He goes out later to the marketplace.  It says that even at noon when many are having lunch, in the heat of the day, the landowner heads out again.  This persistence is a powerful aspect of God.  This invitation comes at all times of the day.  Even those who do not find work, who did other things and made it out late are still invited by the landowner to go to the vineyard to work.  There is always work to be done; there is always an invitation.  This passion of God is always directed at us, whether we are morning persons or late night dwellers.  Whether we love to crank out things in the morning or we procrastinate and wait until the afternoon, He is inviting us.

Yet it is the word “summoning” that is a powerful doorway as well.  Being summoned is different from being invited.  As a child, being summoned to the principal’s office can be a scary event.  Being summoned in front of a judge at a traffic court can be a scary proposition.  Being summoned in the Gospel is a signal to the completion of the day.  It is at that time everyone is gathered and the blessing of their reward for all they have done is celebrated.  Summoning is a new word brought into the Eucharist prayer.  It is an invitation that goes deeper, for the purpose of the gathering is completely focused not on what we want or bring to the table, but what God our heavenly Father (the landowner) longs for and wants.  The summoning is a doorway to allow God to reveal the depth of His love.  In the Eucharistic Prayer after the consecration of the Body and Blood of Jesus, we are summoned to the mystery and miracle before us.  We are summoned to see what God is doing for us.  Just like in the parable, we do not receive what we deserve, but in the generosity of God we are given the Body and Blood of our Savior, revealing the Father’s love to us.  Unlike any other summons, we are given through God’s generous love this precious food from heaven.

In the parable God is always meeting us where we are.  He is always going out to meet us at all times of the day.  What a wondrous God.  He overcomes our excuses, He overcomes the obstacles we place before Him to get to the importance of His generous love.  Blessed are we when we are summoned before Him, for at those moments He shares with us the depths of His love.

Reverend John J. Ouper