Lectio Divina: 2020-10-02

One

Who was it who said “Gentle Jesus, meek and mild”? Not here!

His listeners would know very well that the vineyard was Israel/Judah, that the tenants were the Jews, and the slaves sent to collect the produce were the prophets, who were beaten up and killed if they gave the “wrong” prophesies.

And with hindsight we can feel very superior about knowing that the king’s son was Jesus and that the Jews would contrive to have the Romans put him to death, because they couldn’t implement their own death penalty.

But as soon as I feel smug or superior I know I’m getting it wrong, and take a long hard look at myself to see if I’m as hypocritical as we generally think they were.

I don’t want to be the one to cast the first stone…

His listeners felt comfortable in their chosen superiority, and it would be unthinkably shocking that Jesus suggested that that role might be taken from them and given, a few verses earlier, to the tax-collectors and prostitutes – or, heaven forbid, the Gentiles, indeed anybody who might give him the fruits of the kingdom at harvest time.

Do I feel similarly safe and superior, and is this a warning to me not merely to say “Lord, Lord” while not genuinely doing his will in practice?

But on the other hand, it’s not right or helpful to beat yourself up over imagined guilt.

For me, this doesn’t easily resolve, so I get on with doing what comes my way, knowing that it may well be incomplete and imperfect, but trusting in grace and mercy to carry me through.

Two

This parable caused me to think about how life was in the time of Jesus- violent, cruel and dangerous. It must have been hard to ?stand out? from the crowd and follow Jesus and I guess that is why Jesus laid low at times.

The Kingdom of God is open for everyone who chooses to ?listen? – words spoken by a Jesus at the beginning of the passage. Sadly people may listen but not really hear.

As Christians we have listened and heard and it is our responsibility to tend to the vineyard (church – people not buildings) no matter how difficult it may become.

During these difficult times we have to stay focused on God, discern what is right and what is wrong and respond in a loving way. Tending to the vineyard

Three

When reading the parable it struck me how patient and forgiving the landowner was, he kept sending his slaves and even his son. But to no avail.

Just like the landowner God is patient with us and continues to shower his goodness on us.
At the end of the passage the parable pulls us forward toward that unknown future in which we will be both blessed and judged. But it is a future which is anchored in Jesus Christ.

In these difficult times we must keep trusting in our Lord and Saviour whose love will not let us go.

Four

I was struck by the great care taken by the vineyard owner.

God too has taken amazing personal care of me all of my life although it has taken time for me to be aware of it.

He has planted me in my situation in life.

He has fenced me round with his protection.

He has dug a winepress so that I grow and use and develop the many gifts He has given me.

He has built a watchtower of the Holy Spirit and now it’s up to me to live the kingdom life and produce wine.

Producing wine of course is the tricky bit which requires my care and my personal attention.

Five

This parable speaks to me of God’s patience and love for us. As the Landowner, God entrusts us the tenants with the vineyard, His Church, His people. When we do things wrong and abuse that trust, He continually gives us opportunities to repent and do it right the next time. When we continued to do wrong He sent His Son to guide us, to show us the way. God tells us here that if we don’t look after the vineyard and treat each other as we should, we will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. We reject Jesus at our peril.

God bless everyone. Stay safe and well.

Six

The parable reminds us of Gods call for us to protect our common home and those in it.
If we are the new tenants we will have to look after the vineyard. We have been given the stewardship to look after all of God’s creation.

Unfortunately we humans are not making a good job this responsibility We have just finished with the season of creation.

My prayer is that I recognise myself in the parable and by my actions and attitude I can at least protect the vineyard. Keep safe and keep praying to our wonderful God

Seven

“He sent his son.”

This morning’s lectio is urging me not to forget recent encounters with the Lord. It reminds me that he will do his utmost to reach our deepest hearts.

I had thought of this parable when, not long ago, I had wondered if the Lord might say to me at some later date: I even (did so-and -so ) for you but you still resisted my love and intimacy. Immensely grateful I am that he persisted with me.

…………

“The kingdom of God will be taken from you and be given to a people who will produce its fruits.”

I have constant need to make reparation to the Lord for times in my past when I have not cooperated with Him, for various reasons; when he has had to find others to do the work that it should have been my privilege to do. I am overwhelmingly grateful for the gift of repentance and for his mercy which never lets us go.

I am grateful, too, for “Living in the Divine Will”, the gift given to Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta, showing how we can cooperate in Jesus’ perfect reparation.

God mightily bless and protect each of you and those close to you!

Eight

Every lectio is an opportunity to look a little deeper and for God to help me to stretch myself. I don’t always like what I see, but I am always grateful for what He is teaching me.

Yesterday our Island held a general election, after I cast my vote, and as I was driving to work, I thought about all the sacrifices people had made so that I could vote. I thought about all those who endured the struggle to end segregation. I thought about those who have been willing to serve their community to create a better life for everyone. They felt a call and answered it, whether they recognized God’s voice I don’t know that is between them and God. All this has come at a great cost, and many never saw the fruits of their labour but they did it and they would have done it again. This is the vineyard they have lived and worked in.

I went back to Genesis and read that God was pleased with everything he created and I ask myself what kind of steward have I been in the corner of the world where he would have me be? Would he still be pleased with the gift he gave me? What kind of fruit have I been producing during my life? Is the harvest growing with enough for everyone or am I closing the gate and keeping what I have for myself and the privileged few?

There are times when I too ignore God’s call because I am too busy or it’s too difficult, or maybe when I need to rock the boat I don’t because I fear what people may think of me. I don’t know the answer to all my questions but He does. What I do know is that I come to Him each day, some days more willing to serve Him than others. I want to draw closer to Him, I want to be what He wants me to be, I want to share the love that he gives so freely to me. He knows I am human, and I know He can do amazing things with whatever I bring to him.

Nine

The two words that stuck out for me today ‘ bearing fruit ‘ & ‘cornerstone’.

A cornerstone is a strong piece of a building, I’m no builder but I understand that this gives the building its strength and support, Jesus is the cornerstone of our faith and we are all called to be like him. Standing firm right now feels difficult, I often find myself becoming upset with how things are right now, it’s easy to be down, and I feel like a fruit squeezed and squished going through a presser !! However as I’m pressed I have to dig deeper into Gods word and his promises, I have to become like the cornerstone, firm and fixed on the God who can bring me through, who can help me bear more fruit.
God bless

Ten

My words were ‘leased’ and ‘let’s take over his inheritance’.

‘Leased’ This parable for me it is a reminder that God just gave each of us a little part of the vineyard to work in it, (being the vineyard the world), to care for it.

That little part I have to care for is my family, my friends, my fellow parishioners, all of you, each one I am or I come in contact with… And by caring I understand not only the care for our needs, but to pass on the message received, to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom.

Which type of tenant am I? Are others able to recognise in my actions and words that I am a loving carer? I certainly doubt it, at least not always. Am I a wicked tenant then? Neither I see myself there, because of the second part that took my attention.

By ‘let’s take over his (the heir’s) inheritance’ I understand the wicked tenants compared themselves or wished to be the owners, to have the vineyard for themselves. Isn’t it what is happening in our world today, when lot of people refuse to believe in God, or try to make us believe we are at the same level than God? Wasn’t it the same temptation that the devil offer to Adam and Eve? The one of being like God, the temptation of man-centred vision of the world? Perhaps we need a Copernicus or Galileo that remind us that the sun doesn’t orbit the earth. For me these people believe in false gods that orbit around their wishes. The gods of money, fame, power, … oneself ego first in one word.

Therefore, it is hope for me, I recognise God as my Creator, my Saviour, the only One God, who still loves me, despite all my sins.

Everybody sent before to those who didn’t accept God’s rules were mistreated, stoned,.. even the Son was killed. We, His disciples, can’t not expect to be treated fairly better neither. And that is worrying, would I be strong enough to stand up all the time witnessing You Lord? I truly don’t think so, unless you help me.

Thank you Lord, for this undeserved love you have for me. Please send me your Holy Spirit to help me be a good tenant of your vineyard, to care for it as you want me to do, and the strength to keep me doing so, despite all adversities. Also have mercy on this world in so desperate need of You, Lord, even when they refuse to acknowledge you as the Almighty and ever living God.

Blessed be God forever.