"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."
Reflection: In these difficult economic times for all of us, a moment of hope from a Minnesota supermarket:
While a woman waited to check out at the grocery store, the person ahead of her turned and handed her an envelope. On the front there was a note. "There is $50.00 in this envelope for your groceries. Take it if you need it or pass it on." She passed the envelope to the person behind her, who in turn gave it away. As she watched the envelope progress through the lines she was surprised that some people even added money to it.
The Spirit of God moved through that line of shoppers in the form of an envelope. Any time compassion and generosity, selflessness and humility compel people to do what is right and just, the Spirit of God is moving among them.
Today's gospel shows a "vineyard" devoid of that Spirit. For the tenants, all that matters is the profit to be realized. They turn on the vineyard owner who has been nothing but kind to them; they murder the owner's son who comes to hold them accountable.
We have seen what happens when the interests of the few are placed before the common good of all, when basic ethics and morality are dismissed as naive and unrealistic in order to make the quick buck. God will hold us accountable so that His vineyard will be used responsibly and justly for the good of all.
God has given us a wonderful vineyard that we often take for granted, that we mar and destroy by our selfishness. Christ comes with a new vision for the vineyard, a vision of generous sharing rather than obsessive taking, of peace rather than hostility, of forgiveness rather than vengeance. May we welcome Christ into the vineyard of our homes, our workplaces, our schools, aware that He calls us to the demanding conversion of the Gospel, but determined to sow and reap the blessings of God's reign.
Prayer: O Lord of the vineyard, You gave us this earth as a place of peace to seek You and grow in Your love. By Your grace, wisdom, and light, may we transform the villages and vineyards You have given us into places where Your justice abounds and Your peace reigns.
Daily Reflections For Lent - Not By Bread Alone 2010