It’s getting dark and nervously she paces in her modest home. She is worried. Nervously, she sweeps the dirt floor from one side to the next. She stares into the darkness. It is late and she begins to pray, “O God, O God, where is my Joseph? Where is he, Lord? It is getting late and I know he didn’t find work today. I went to the market place and I saw him still standing there late in the afternoon. O Lord, where is he? Has something
happened to him, or is he too ashamed to come home again empty handed?”

Her prayer is broken by a tug on her dress. It’s her five year old daughter Elizabeth. Little Elizabeth asks, “Mama, where is Daddy? Why has Daddy not come home yet? Is he bringing us something to eat? Mama, I’m hungry.” And with that the door burst open and he says, “Hello, Elizabeth! Hello, Rebecca! Prepare the table, we have a feast! Look! I have bread, I have cheese, I have figs and for the two women in my life, a little bit of honey!”

“Joseph, where did you get all of this? I know you didn’t work, I went by the market place and I saw you standing there late in the day.” He said, “The most amazing, the most marvelous thing happened to me today. I was standing in the market place waiting for someone to come by and hire me. The day was getting late and many had given up. Others had gone to work and just a few of us were standing there. I just couldn’t come home empty handed again. I couldn’t stand another night just lying in bed when sleep would not come. The growling of my empty stomach could not drown out her words, ‘Daddy, I’m hungry.’

I was almost ready to give up when around the eleventh hour the most unusual thing happened. A fellow came up and he yelled to us and asked us why we weren’t working. We said, “No one has hired us.” He said, “I’ll hire you! Come on and work!” “It was late in the day but a few pennies was better than nothing at all, so I went and worked in the vineyard. There were people there who had been working a long time. You could tell they were tired and hot and dusty.

We worked for only an hour. Then the land owner gathered us together to pay us, and would you believe
he paid us first, the ones who had only worked an hour, not those who had worked three hours or six hours or nine hours or twelve hours, and would you believe he gave us wages for an entire day? We worked one single hour and we were paid for an entire day! I was so happy! I was so joyous! I ran to the market place and bought all of this food. Doesn’t it look good? Isn’t it wonderful? We shall have a feast tonight.”

“Joseph, may I ask a word?” “Yes, honey.” “I’m curious, why are there just three loaves instead of the customary four? And are my eyes deceiving me, it looks like someone has cut off half of the cheese.” “Well, you’re right. I hope it’s okay but on the way home I thought of the widow Sarah and I stopped by her house and gave her some of the bread and cheese. And wiping moisture from her eyes, Rebecca says, “Oh my dear Joseph, my kind and generous Joseph you know that it is more than alright. Let’s bow and thank God.”

Fr. Joseph Dovari