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Monday, September 22, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 21 SEP 2008 (VIS) - At midday today, having returned from the nearby town of Albano where he celebrated Mass, Benedict XVI appeared at the balcony of the Apostolic Palace in Castelgandolfo to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered there.

  The Pope commented on the parable from the Gospel of St. Matthew which narrates how the lord of the vineyard called labourers to work for him at various times of the day, causing those who were hired first to complain that those hired last received the same pay for having worked fewer hours.

  After recalling how when elected to the pontifical throne he too had presented himself as "a worker in the vineyard of the Lord", Benedict XVI explained that the money mentioned in the parable "represents eternal life, a gift God reserves for everyone. Indeed, precisely those who are considered 'last', if they accept the gift, become 'first', while the 'first' may run the risk of becoming 'last'.

  "The first message of this parable lies in the fact that the owner of the vineyard cannot tolerate ... unemployment. He wants everyone to be employed in his vineyard and, in fact, being called is already a reward: being able to work in the vineyard of the Lord, placing oneself at His service, is of itself a priceless gift which repays any effort. But only those who love the Lord and His Kingdom can understand this; those who work only for pay will never realise the value of this inestimable treasure".

  The Apostle Matthew underwent this experience in person, the Pope explained, because as a publican, a tax-gatherer, he was considered "a public sinner, excluded from the 'vineyard of the Lord'". Yet when Jesus called him "he immediately became a disciple of Christ; from being 'last' he found himself 'first', thanks to the logic of God which - to our good fortune - is different from that of the world".

  "St. Paul, whose Jubilee Year we are currently celebrating, also experienced the joy of being called by the Lord to work in His vineyard", and he "understood that working for the Lord is in itself a recompense on this earth".

  The Holy Father concluded his remarks by affirming that the Virgin Mary "is the prefect branch of the Lord's vine. From her sprang the blessed fruit of divine love: Jesus, our Saviour".
ANG/VOCATION/...                            VIS 20080922 (410)

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