The gospel reading for this 25th Sunday in ordinary times, Year A (Matthew 20:1-16), is about a landowner who went out to the marketplace, at different hours of the day, to hire laborers for his vineyard. Amazingly, when out around 5:00 p.m., an hour before the end of the workday, he saw some laborers still standing and waiting to be hired. Guess what? They were hired and they got a full day’s pay.
It is amazing what a persistent and unyielding spirit—refusing to give up, hanging in there in faith, believing God for His grace, determined to succeed—can do. Scripture says, “My faithful one shall live by faith and if he draws back, I have no pleasure in him” and in another place, it says: “Whoever puts his hand on the plow and keeps looking back is not worthy of the kingdom of heaven”. To be successful, our hunger and desire for success must be greater than our fear of failure and willingness to give up. Success demands that we allow commitment, courage, and persistence to coach our ambition and efforts. Our aspirations in life will, inevitably, be met with resistance and pullbacks; things that can dampen and discourage enthusiasm, deem the light of ambition, and push efforts into the alternate direction of quitting. Many a time, it takes grace and believing-faith to cross the breaking line; the divide between success and failure. The question is: how do we react in the face of seeming failure? What do we do with the bricks and stones that life and others throw on the path of our goals and dreams? Do we use them to build bridges to crossover the huddles and build ladders to climb to new heights, or do we use them to build walls that close us in and cause us to sink deeper and deeper into failure?
My friends, there are big rewards in learning how to keep going, no matter what, because hardest times often lead to the greatest moments in life. Losing hope never cuts it because storms never last forever. The best way to get out of a situation is to get through it. Therefore, when the going gets tough, let us put one foot in front of the other and just keep going. Who knows, by the time we turn around, we may have climbed a mountain. It was Calvin Coolidge who said, “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On!' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” These few words say it all. The 5:00 p.m. workers hung in there and were handsomely rewarded. Persistence always pays off, big time. May the good Lord grant us the spirit of persistence in things of heaven above and here below!
May God grant us the grace to persevere in our endeavors! May He bless and grant success to our efforts in this life! May He reward our faith and hope in Him, Amen.