Saint Hyacinth joined the Order of Preachers after he witnessed a miracle performed by Saint Dominic. He established the Order in his native Poland and preached the Gospel throughout Europe. Hyacinth died in 1257 and was canonised in 1594.
When the vineyard owner goes out into the marketplace in search of workers both in the middle and at the end of the day, he doesn’t blame the people who are standing around idle. Instead, he gives them the benefit of the doubt: they intended to work, but no one had employed them. So he hires them and sends them to work in his vineyard. Then at the end of the day, he pays everyone enough to take care of their families for the day.
The vineyard owner takes seriously his responsibility for the people entrusted to him, and he goes out of his way to care for them. He shows generosity, kindness, and compassion. He goes well beyond doing only the minimum that is required, and instead lives out in a very practical way Our Lord’s command to love one another.
The vineyard owner is no way near like the rulers of Israel whom Ezekiel addresses in the first reading. Sadly, we may have the tendency to be a little more like them. Given the opportunity, we may lord it over people by being overly critical or heavy-handed, or by putting our own interests ahead of their needs. And yet Our Lord isn’t surprised by this. When we don’t live up to his command to love our neighbour he doesn’t reject us or condemn us. Rather he gives us the opportunity to repent and do better. Nor does he just tell us what to do; he actually does the work right alongside us and gives us the grace to become more loving and patient with people.
Each of us, in our own way, is called to strengthen the weak, to heal the sick, and to seek the lost, just as the vineyard owner did. We are all called to treat the people in our lives with the same dignity, compassion, and respect that Our Lord has for us. And so, let us thank God that the perfect Good Shepherd is always with us to teach us and lead us in this responsibility.