October 10, 2014
God Gets in My Way
There are times when we allow our things get in God’s way. The list includes our own plans and desires, sins, pride, things that we don’t want to let go, our lack of trust, etc.
However, can there be times when God gets in our way?
That might be one way of looking at the reaction of the first group of guests in this parable.
Jesus identifies them as “the invited guests” who are now “summoned” to the feast when “everything is ready.”
The description “invited guests” suggests that they have received an earlier invitation prior to this moment. They knew about it.
But they already have their plans.
And now, God’s plan for them gets in their way. We know how they react.
Have I ever allowed such a situation to happen in my life?
October 4, 2014
Matthew 21: 33 – 43
The Vineyard Entrusted to Me
The landowner first “planted a vineyard.” Next, he “put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower.” In other words, he took good care of his vineyard. Only then did “he [lease] it to tenants.”
(Today’s first reading from Isaiah 5 has even a more detailed description of God’s care for the vineyard).
With such great care, God prepares the vineyard that would be entrusted to me.
The vineyard can be (or includes) my own wellbeing, both in this world and in the next, and the people God puts in my life – family members, friends, co-workers, …
Besides, God sends help and reminders (the servants and His Son) to assist me in caring for the vineyard.
How do I take care of the well-planted vineyard that God has entrusted to me?
September 27, 2014
Freedom and True Love
The father, a figure of absolute authority in an ancient culture, only asks his sons to go and work in the vineyard. He does not force them.
God gives us free will, and God allows us to freely choose how we would respond to God’s love.
The father does not check on the son who said “yes,” to see if he keeps his words.
We know we do not always deserve the trust and respect God puts in us. But God stills respect the freedom that God has given us.
There, God does not impose on us God’s love with a kind of force obligation. Rather, God offers us a constant invitation to grow in true love.
Lastly, we have Jesus, who is the exemplary Son of the Father. By this time in Matthew’s narrative, Jesus has entered Jerusalem. There, he would soon offer the supreme act of obedience and love to the Father: he freely chose to do the Father’s will by accepting the cross. His whole life, in attitudes, words and action, is an act of love.
September 20, 2014
“Am I not free to do what I please with my own?”
The landowner hires five groups of laborers. Yet, it is only with the first group does he have an agreement with them about their wages.
At the end of the workday, he pays them the agreed amount.
Jesus does not say anything about the attitude of all the laborers who were hired late in the day.
Only the first group complains. It is probably understandable that they feel cheated. But they receive the amount they have agreed with the landowner.
Jesus begins the parable with, “The kingdom of heaven is like.”
Membership in the kingdom is not something upon which we agreed with God. God is not obliged to give it to us, as the landowner asks the first laborers, “Am I not free to do what I please with my own?”
It is a grace, freely given. Blessed are those who recognize God’s graciousness to us.