Friday, March 6, 2015

God writes the story of our lives with the pen strokes of our own free choices.

"When freedom does not have a purpose, when it does not wish to know anything about the rule of law engraved in the hearts of men and women, when it does not listen to the voice of conscience, it turns against humanity and society." – St Pope John Paul II

Gospel Text: (MT 21:33-43, 45-46)
Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people:
“Hear another parable.
There was a landowner who planted a vineyard,
put a hedge around it,
dug a wine press in it, and built a tower.
Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey.
When vintage time drew near,
he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce.
But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat,
another they killed, and a third they stoned.
Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones,
but they treated them in the same way.
Finally, he sent his son to them,
thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another,
‘This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’
They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?”
They answered him,
“He will put those wretched men to a wretched death
and lease his vineyard to other tenants
who will give him the produce at the proper times.”
Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures:

The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes?

Therefore, I say to you,
the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you
and given to a people that will produce its fruit.”
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables,
they knew that he was speaking about them.
And although they were attempting to arrest him,
they feared the crowds, for they regarded him as a prophet.

The above parable teaches us a lot about God and how God relates to us.

First we see the PROVIDENCE of God. "There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower"(Matthew 21:33a). Before God entrusts a responsibility to you, He makes provision for all that you will need in carrying out the responsibility.

Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country" (verse 33b). This shows God's TRUST in us. God does not stand looking over our shoulders, policing us to make sure we do the right thing. God leaves the job to us. God trusts that we will do the right thing. Unfortunately many of us don't.

The story also highlights God's PATIENCE with us. God sends messenger after messenger to the rebellious managers who would not render to God what is His due. With each messenger, God provides another chance for us to put an end to rebellion and do the right thing.

Finally there comes a last chance. God plays His last card and sends His only son. If we miss this last chance, then we've missed it.

In the end we see God's JUDGMENT in which rebellious humanity lose their very lives, and their privileges are transferred to others who are more promising. The picture is that of a provident, trusting, patient, but also just God.

Life itself is a privilege which can be taken away from any of us at any moment. Privilege comes, however, with RESPONSIBILITY. We are ultimately responsible and accountable to God for the way we use or abuse our God-given privileges. God has given us all that we need to make a judicious use of all our privileges, yet we retain the ability to abuse them. This is called FREEDOM.

Let us today pray for the wisdom and the courage never to abuse our privileges but rather to make a judicious use of all the privileges and opportunities that God gives us.

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