Thursday, March 09, 2023

The Church is the Vineyard of the Lord.

Does God make mistakes in His choices? 

"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." (Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46). 

Friday March 10th 2023 of 2nd week in Lent. 

The Gospel today is an allegory of the Kingdom of God and the mysterious ways of Divine Providence. In the Parable, the owner of the Vineyard appears weak and stupid. After the malevolent tenants had killed scores of the servants sent to collect the rent, he decided to send his only son without a military backup which is the only language that some wicked people understand. 

The deep mystery of God's mighty, merciful and mysterious Providence is not whitewashed in Sacred Scriptures. Take the first Reading for example: The brothers of Joseph out of blind envy sold Joseph into slavery. We know how the story of Joseph ended in Egypt. 

When we are faced with what we do not and cannot understand like: Why are wicked people made rulers? Why the Holocaust? Why did God permit Islam to wipe out Christianity in North Africa and the Middle East in the 7th century? Why Pharoah, why Hitler, why Stalin, etc? 

Our faith teaches us that God is infinite. We are not. He is all-knowing. We are too limited in our knowledge, vision and wisdom. 

Therefore we must accept and believe what we can not understand. 

God did not allow Satan have the last word in the crucifixion of Jesus. He rose again on the third day. St Augustine teaches that God could never permit evil if a greater good would not emerge from it. This is true. Your life experiences will bear testimony to this truth. 

Below is my favorite Scripture when I grapple with the mystery of Divine Providence:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways—oracle of the Lord.

 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55: 8 - 9). 

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