Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A - 18/9/2011 - Gospel: Mt 20:1-16a
We often express our approval/disapproval in terms of fair/unfair; gain and loss in our daily interactions. We are continuing comparing ourselves with others. We try to access fairness and level of accomplishment. We believe that justice is done when no one takes advantage of us or manipulates the situation for personal gain. We want to have a fair go for everyone. However, most of us probably accept that it is fair when I am in an advantageous position and unfair when I am in a disadvantageous position. The principle of fair go is very much driven by individual self centre perspective. The question how fair is fair is differs from person to person. Because of differences in human calculations, fairness is in dispute daily. What is fair for this person may not be fair for others, or what is fair for this group may not be fair for the rest of the community. For example a request to raise the salary of one section of a community while the rest of the community receives no increase in payment, and yet it is more likely that those who receive no increase bear the rising cost of living. Is it fair for employees who have been faithful in supporting a firm and now the firm moves offshore for cheaper labour and for more profit gain? Such moves are not fair for the employees who have been faithful for the firm. Take another example, a car accident happened at a main road. Public transport users know nothing about it and yet it might disrupt their normal travel timetable. Arguing for fairness in this case comes from the relational because commuter networks are related and therefore be affected. If you arrive, for whatever reason, a few minutes after the closing time for the flight you have to pay extra money for rebooking, but if the airline, for a so call 'technical reason' was delayed for a short period of time they simply apologize for it. Fairness in this case is beyond comprehension. Is it fair for a person who is in the position of a CEO receives an annual bonus a hundredfold more than a blue collar worker? Fairness in this case is for the power holder. How fair is it for a person who receives four figures for an hour work while the majority of us receive only two humble figures? Fairness in this case is in favour of people who are fortunate. Some people make excuses not to attend Church services because they don't feel welcome and they don't like the liturgy. Is it fair for regular Church attending parishioners to be responsible for welcoming another parishioner who does not attend Church regularly? Should all parishioners share the same responsibility to welcome each other and contribute their talents to make the liturgy more relevant to their lives? Fairness in this case is demanding more from others, not of their own contribution.

The fairness principle often causes disputes between two parties. When this happens a law expert is employed to present the cases on behalf of their clients. Some clients have more money to pay for a well known lawyer while the other party has fewer resource to prolong the case and finally exhausts all their funds. The final result is far removed from fair and just for the poor and the voiceless.

Today's parable seems to propose an alternative way for better dealings with one another. It is not base on fair or unfair principle but it has its foundation on charity or generosity. It is generosity that the owner of the vineyard dealt with the hired workers. In doing this, the owner of the vineyard sacrificed some of his profits but he gained love and acceptance from the workers. Where love and compassion is presence, goodness and happiness is blooming.