The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for the home by Dr. David M. Thomas for CFM
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Matthew 21:33-43
Today’s gospel is R-rated for violence. Lots of killing in this parable of Jesus. It’s hard to give an exact number of how many die in it. Clearly, quite a few. In fact, at the end, even the owner of the vineyard gets the last word by killing his tenants, who had killed his son. So, what’s the point? Here’s what I think.
Jesus initiated the beginning of God’s Kingdom on earth. And he was quite serious about making this central to his message. And God will do all that God can do to make it successful. God will never cease working on this “project”, no matter what. Even if opposition arises, in the end, God will remain faithful. God doesn’t quit.
Do we exhibit similar effort in our lives? Are we ever tempted to quit something we once began? I know I have. I can point to quite a few articles and books that I have started to write, but never finished. I have many household projects half-done. I only rarely take care of all the tasks on my daily, monthly or yearly to-do list. Much less what’s on my bucket list! Of course, I rationalize with the excuse that no one ever accomplishes everything they set out to do. Well, anyone except God.
Two weeks ago, we heard the words that God’s thoughts are not our own. This week we can add, that the same can be said about how God acts. God is different from us. God finishes what God begins. Which means that we can trust God, no matter what. Which also applies to God’s help. We know that things don’t always turn out as we had planned. We have disappointments and failures. And God knows that. But God does not give up on us, on any of us!
Back to the parable. The real owner of the vineyard is God. And God wants the vineyard to be productive, which does not mean more grapes, but rather, more workers (that’s us!) to help make God’s Kingdom become real right now. More acts of helping each other. More caring for the sick and the needy. More care for the vineyard which includes the land God has given to us, our home here, the Earth!
Pray for the desire and the strength not to quit the work we have been created to accomplish. While we may quit this or that from time to time, we can always start again. Let’s never give up on ourselves or those close to us. God never will.
©David M. Thomas, PhD