March 6, 2015

The Gospel Today

Friday of the Second Week of Lent

Matthew 23:33-43, 45-46

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.

Reflection (Sem. Ivan Joseph F. Feniquito):

            I cannot imagine the mercy and compassion of God for us. Since the beginning, God has been good to us. He created the world ex nihilo (out of nothing). God freely shares his divinity within us. In the creation story, all of the creations of God were good. In the sixth day, He created a wonderful creature that will have dominion over all His creatures – animals, plants, birds and many things. He created man out of His image and likeness. From the start, God has been good to us, not to mention His plan of salvation for all mankind.

Despite of God’s gracious goodness, man committed sin, the original sin. God has been faithful to us, but man was not. Our first parents disobeyed the single instruction of God – not to eat the fruit tree in the middle of the garden. However, because of man’s desire to be like god as per the temptation of the devil. Sin entered into the world.

Moving forward in the Old Testament, for centuries, even if man was unfaithful to God by committing sins and wrongdoing, I can say that God is very merciful, compassionate and patient to us. Years back, God has His full attention to the chosen people Israel; He gave them such blessings they needed. They grow in number and importance, His plan of liberating them from slavery from Egypt happened. Through Moses, God touched the lives of the Israelites through the fulfillment of His promise of freedom for them. He liberated them from slavery in Egypt, leading them to the Promised Land, helping them back from exile and guiding them from the slavery of the neighboring empires. The response from all God‘s blessings is to be faithful to the covenant. Looking at God’s action, just like in the Gospel, He also sent His son, the only begotten Son.

In the modern period, the presence of God is with us. The Vicar of Christ, the Roman Pontiff, Pope Francis visited our country. We can also witness how God is merciful, compassionate and patient in us especially in the occasions of sins. He is still the same God of our forefathers. I ask then, what God has not given us since the first existence? I believe that the existence itself, the consecration of our baptism, family, health, education, and friends and with the blessings and graces was given to us when we needed them the most. God has been there when we face the problems and struggles in life. His tender love is there.

I realized that the invitation for us is to grow and to be grateful for everything He has given us. We must also bear fruit and respond to His love by our faithfulness to Him, and our service to our neighbor. God gave us mercy and love, aside from the blessings, gifts and talents. God gave us so much. Now, let us see in our life, the vineyard where our life was planted with so much blessings from God, when the harvest has come, are we ready to offer the fruits of His produce? Or rather, are we going to imitate the selfish tenants keeping the gifts and talents we received? My brothers and sisters, God is patient with us, He is always waiting for us to give what is due to Him, and what is due to our neighbors. Let us use the talents and blessings we received from God by sharing them to others, thus in using them for the greater glory of God.

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