MATTHEW 21:33-43, 45-46
“the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit”
Today I found a short reflection on a daily Gospel . It is by the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Westville (Close to Durban) used in a 2017 Lenten reflection . The reflections’ source is available at the following link: http://www.catholic-dbn.org.za/6209-2/
This parable is Jesus’ own story. God is the owner of the vineyard, the earth, and the People of God are the tenants. God calls them to ‘produce appropriate fruit’, and at various intervals in the great story of salvation, sends ‘messengers’ to collect that fruit. But no fruit is forthcoming, and the messengers (the prophets) are treated harshly or even killed. God, however, does not give up, and finally decides to send His son to the people, believing that the people will respect His son. However, that does not prove to be true either, and the Son is killed. Jesus asks His listeners, which included Pharisees and scribes, what they think the “owner of the vineyard would then do”. The answer comes, “he will lease the vineyard to other tenants who will deliver the produce to him when the season arrives.”
We are “those other tenants” – it is to us that the ‘vineyard’ has been entrusted, and it is our task to produce fruit for the Master to collect. We are going to have to account for our stewardship.
Furthermore, each of us has our own little vineyard – and each of us is commissioned as Jesus tells us in John’s gospel, “to produce fruit that is lasting”. Hopefully we are not guilty of treating the “messengers” who remind us of this task in the same way as those in the parable were treated, but again we need to account for our stewardship in that area as well.
Lent offers us the opportunity to evaluate our stewardship – of our own individual vineyards, as well as the greater one for which we are all responsible. Are we producing fruit that is appropriate and lasting? Will the Lord be pleased with our efforts? If not, what needs to change?
Reflect on your life up to now – if you had to produce evidence of a fruitful life, what could you offer?
Is there more that can be done? If so, make a resolution to get involved in an activity that will allow opportunity for growth and greater productivity.
Lord Jesus, You came to live among us, as one of us, to show us the way to salvation – a gift we do not deserve. Help me to see the opportunities to serve You by serving others, and so make my life fruitful and pleasing in Your sight. Amen. Change my Heart O God!