All of Life is God’s Gift…and our Thanks?
Today’s first Scripture Reading from the 2nd Letter of St. Peter invites us to ponder the wisdom – and challenge — of a rather “hidden” part of the New Testament. Peter’s opening words: “God’s divine power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and power.” Peter goes on to encourage us: “…for this reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion, devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love.” All life is gift…pure and simple! Treasure the gift!
There’s a special challenge in today’s selection from Mark’s Gospel. Mark shares Jesus’ parable of the vineyard and the evil tenants…a pointed story-with-a-message which Jesus addressed to the religious leaders of his day that were out to get Him. The parable was a powerful indictment of those leaders who were seeking to arrest Jesus…but who also feared the increasing crowds that were attracted to Jesus’ teachings. The “gift” of the life of Jesus was too much for those religious leaders; they rejected Him and His message of love…and they ultimately crucified Him. The words of Jesus’ parable were on-target!
We are invited to generously respond to God’s gift in the Person of Jesus in our lives and our world. We can half-heartedly say “yes” to His offer of love and encouragement and go our merry ways; we may even turn away from Jesus in our moments of sinfulness and selfishness, OR we can wholeheartedly embrace Jesus as our Savior and our Love. How do we respond to Jesus these late spring days?
May we respond as did the author of Psalm 91: “In you, my God, I place my trust.” May God’s grace and peace be ours in abundance, through Jesus, for lives of love and generosity. Amen!!
Fr. John Schork, C.P. is a member of the Passionist community in Chicago, Illinois.