Friday, February 26, 2016

“Lying to ourselves is more deeply ingrained than lying to others.”

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.

Saint Thomas More said that no heresy is all falsehood. In a similar way, there is no sin that does not have either a good object as its goal, or an intention that is believed to be good. Of course, subjectively believing an intention to be good does not make it objectively good.

This is seen in today’s parable about the vineyard owner. We see a spectacularly poor “logic” on display in the reasoning of the vineyard workers. How could they imagine that by killing the owner’s son, they would acquire his inheritance? The father was still alive: did the workers imagine that the owner would forgive them for killing his son, and bestow upon them the vineyard? Or did they plan to take the vineyard by force? If the latter, they should have killed the father in addition to the son…

Every one of our sins is an offense against Jesus Christ, the Father’s only-begotten, who called Himself “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6). We imagine that our sins will bring us a greater, longer or more satisfying life. Yet Jesus teaches us that we can only acquire His inheritance of divine Life from the Cross.

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