2 Peter 1:2-7
Responsible Stewardship & Discipleship
Today’s Gospel parable of the vineyard and the tenant farmers is familiar: a vineyard is planted, leased to tenant farmers who tried to take over the vineyard for themselves alone. Repeated efforts were made to collect some of the produce of the vineyard; each attempt was met with rejection, and ultimately the owner’s son was killed in a far-fetched plot to obtain the vineyard. Jesus’ immediate audience for the parable was the scribes and elders. As they realized that they themselves were the focus of the parable their contempt of Jesus continued to build! For Jesus, another step on the road to Calvary…
There’s another dimension / angle to the parable: the beginning of the parable has many interesting details. Jesus could have simply said, "a man planted a vineyard, leased it to tenant farmers, and left on a journey." Instead, Jesus included the words "put a hedge around it, dug a wine press, and built a tower." Why did Jesus include these details?
These parable details can provide insight about Jesus’ relationship with his Father, and Jesus’ hopes for us as well. Today the Father provides us with the theoretical equivalents of a hedge, a wine press and a tower as we "work" the vineyard of Christian life in the 21st Century. God loves each of us, and walks with us in all the aspects of daily life. We are blessed with the Scriptures, with the Sacraments, with the tradition of the Church, with the example of one another, etc. These many helps (the hedge of protection from harm and limitations, the wine press of personal and institutional resources, and the tower of a global connection with the Church universal) encourage us to labor enthusiastically and tirelessly in proclaiming the Good News today.
Perhaps these days of Ordinary Time in the Church can help us wake up and take notice of our labors in the Lord’s "vineyard" of our daily lives. Do we notice and gratefully use the gifts God provides us? As we face the challenges of life as responsible Christians, are we humble and responsible – or greedy, power-hungry and mercenary? Are we good stewards? We can all-too-easily reject God as did those represented by the tenant farmers in the Gospel parable…
Today, God loves us dearly in Jesus Crucified; we are called to credibly and generously share that love in word and deed. May we be blessed.
Fr. John Schork, C.P. is the local leader of the Passionist community in Louisville, Kentucky.