I couldn’t take the kids to mass with me because LJ is still contagious with RSV and I won’t put any other munchkins in harms way by bringing him. Luckily for me, my mom drove 8 hours and showed up 15 minutes before the evening Sunday mass started. I gave her a quick hug, passed the children onto her and zipped over to mass.
Women who are not yet mother’s do not understand the bliss they will miss during mass when they have kids! I got to sit quietly, still, soaking in every word and every motion. Kneeling in prayer before mass and talking with Jesus the whole time. I loved every minute.
Don’t get me wrong, I love sharing the Jesus’ presence and the Church with our kids every weekend but man-oh-man was it nice to go solo!
Anyways, here is my takeaway from the Gospel: the Parable of the Wicked Tenants.
A vineyard owner (God) plants this great vineyard (His Kingdom, Israel) and then must go on a trip and cannot tend to it – so He leaves it in the hands of some tenants (Israel’s Religious Leaders). When it comes time for the harvest the vineyard owner sends some of his servants (the Prophets) back to collect his produce (the good works demanded in the covenant) from the harvest and they are met with beatings, stoning, killing because these tenants do not wish to obey the contract that they had with the vineyard owner. (The contract in this case is the covenant that God has with the people of Israel). Finally the vineyard owner sends his Son (Jesus) hoping that the tenants will finally listen to someone of the most importance to the owner and begin to uphold their end of the contract. The tenants see this differently – they choose to kill the Son so that they don’t have to uphold the contract and will automatically inherit the vineyard instead of having to work for it.
Well, doesn’t the owner have a rude awakening for them! He destroys the contract between the Him and the current tenants and finds new tenants (The Church) that will obey the contract and fork over the produce.
No, God isn’t giving us a vineyard. He gave the Israelites the Kingdom if they would follow the law and uphold their end of the covenant. Prophets came, John the Baptist came, and they disregarded it all. Finally, God sends his only Son to get the message through and these people still don’t get it. They end up killing him thinking that they’re still going to inherit the Kingdom.
God passes that gift, the produce of upholding our end of the covenant onto the Church. We are not the Son. we do not get this for simply being named tenants of the vineyard or for simply signing the contract. We have to do our part to uphold our end of the bargain. We have to follow the rules, obey the servants of God, we have to be faithful tenants, and we have to produce good fruit.
Here is my takeaway as a mama:
God has passed the torch to those in His Church after the death of his Son for the sake of the kingdom. I am now a tenant responsible for the fruit God has given me to tend to. But lets be real, grapes are great but what awesome stuff comes from grapes? WINE! And to make wine it takes – patience, adherence to the recipe, meticulous care, and lots of work to grow those grapes and eventually turn them into wine to give back to the creator all with the promise that at the end, we get to have some of this Heaven for ourselves.
How am I doing at tending to the blessings God has given me? My children, my home, my family, my friends, my relationship with Him? Well, this one just hit me in the gut because I’ve been that super awful yelling mom lately. I’m not doing so hot in that area.
How well am I adhering to the recipe the Creator set forth to turn this fruit into the produce he wants? Am I missing mass? Have I gone to confession at least once a year? Do I open my bible daily and read God’s word? Am I spending time in prayer with Him daily?
What works am I doing to actively take care of the vineyard God has entrusted me/us? Well, if you look around us, we’re doing a pretty terrible job. We’re fighting left and right like the original tenants and we’re trashing the Earthly vineyard. We’re letting greed and hate control our hearts instead of keeping our eyes focused towards heaven, towards the finality of fulfilling our end of the contract. So what are you going to do? There’s 100 things you could do! Recycle more, conserve water, give a stranger a hug, donate blood, volunteer, spread kindness and the Gospel everywhere like glitter (and glitter is impossible to get off so that means spread it so that it sticks!). What are we doing, on a personal level, for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting, for victims of the recent natural disasters, for the homeless in our community? We’ve got a lot of room for improvement here.
So the moral of the story is it takes work to see the fruits of our labor and if you’ve ever had a baby you know, laboring SUCKS but what you get at the end is pure amazing, its perfection. That’s what we’re working for – the perfectly perfect, the greatest perfection, to spend the rest of eternity at the most perfect, heavenly Kingdom of our Lord.
Go hug your kids, do something nice for a neighbor, pay it forward, go to a daily mass, open your bible, and give thanks to God for giving us the chance to tend to his vineyard.