Joe and Sam loved softball and wondered if there is softball in heaven. They
agreed that the first one who died would come back and tell the other. One day
Joe was hit by a truck and died instantly. Soon he appeared to Sam and said,
"Sam, I’ve got good news and bad news. First the good news: We’ve got softball
in heaven." "So what’s the bad news?" asked Sam. "The bad news," replied Joe,
"is that you’re scheduled to pitch next Sunday."
It’s a funny story, but it implies that going to heaven is bad news!
Something similar is found in today’s Gospel, where "being on God’s team" is
seen as bad news by the workers who are hired early, who resent the landowner
when he pays a full day’s wages to latecomers. Jesus is asking: "Who is better
off: the ones with the security of a job, or those who spend most of the day
worrying about whether they’d be able to feed their families?" Jesus wants us to
consider: "Who is better off: sinners who spend their lives away from God, or
those who know God and follow his will?"
We might envy people who seem to have a good time sinning. We might be
resentful if they repent and get into heaven at the last minute. If so, we’re
telling God, "It’s no fun being on your team, in your Church, following your
way. It’s a burden, and you owe us."
But how happy are those who don’t know Jesus? Does the Hollywood lifestyle
bring joy? Again and again we hear how the rich and famous are miserable in
spite of their fame and fortune, drowning in drugs, alcohol, family problems,
divorce, suicide. Are they better off for not knowing the Lord? Certainly
This Gospel invites us to better appreciate the privilege of knowing and
serving God. We should ask questions like: "What am I doing with my life (my
time in the vineyard)?Am I grateful for the privilege of serving God? If asked
about my best friends, would Jesus come to mind? "
There may be softball in heaven, but right now we should realize that being
on God’s team, his Church, is not bad news. It’s great news!