Pope Benedict XVI
Homily (from Osservatore Romano)
"You too go into my vineyard" (Mt 20,4)
It is Saint Matthew, the apostle and evangelist whose feast we are celebrating today, who tells the parable of the owner of the vineyard who calls laborers to work in in his vineyard (20.1f.). I like to emphasize that Matthew had personally had this experience. Before Jesus called him, he exercised the function of publican and, as a result, was thought of as a sinner, excluded from «the Lord's vineyard». However, it all changes when Jesus, passing by his tax-collector's table, looks at him and says: «Follow me». Matthew stood up and followed him. The publican had changed immediately into a disciple of Christ. He was one of the «last» who found himself to be «first» (Mt 20,16) thanks to God's way of thinking, which – happily for us! - is different from the world's. «Your thoughts are not my thoughts,» as the Lord says through the mouth of the prophet Isaiah, «nor are my ways your ways» (55,8).
Saint Paul, too, experienced the joy of feeling himself called by our Lord to work in his vineyard. And what a great work he accomplished! But, as he himself testifies, it was the grace of God working in him, that grace which transforms the persecutor of the Church into the apostle of the gentiles (1Cor 15,9-10).