Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46
Faithfulness that comforts and afflicts
As we journey through this Lenten season, the call is one of repenting and believing in the Gospel. That is the biggest challenge of life, and the biggest challenge for our churches: to really believe in the message and to challenge ourselves and our folks to live the message of the Gospel!
In the Gospel passage today, we listen to the story of the landowner and his tenants and how the tenants kill the workers that are sent into the vineyard to harvest the produce. The owner says, “Surely they will respect my son”, yet the son is killed, which is symbolic and a foreshadowing of the Son of God being killed because he was faithful to live out God’s love!
The fruit of the Kingdom is love and that love raises two challenges for us this Lenten season. The first challenge is how faithful are we in demonstrating the fruit of the kingdom? The second challenge is how are we building a kingdom where each of us is called to live out God’s love?
The current challenge of expanding Medicaid in the state of Missouri is one of being faithful to the call of God and not “killing” the messengers; the workers who come to produce the fruit of the Kingdom. God’s love is about seeing to it that all people have the necessary components that make life worth living: an adequate wage, adequate health care, proper housing and supporting the poor and downtrodden. Jesus did these things in proclaiming the Kingdom! We have a challenge in our communities today, to be similarly faithful to the message of the Gospel.
This kind of faithfulness certainly comforts the afflicted, but it also afflicts the comfortable! This is a tough message to proclaim to our somewhat “comfortable” communities, but as communities bonded together to bring about the message of the Gospel, we must challenging ourselves to be faithful to this message. Together we can make a difference! As Mother Theresa said, “God doesn’t ask us to be successful, but to be faithful!”
May we be good and faithful stewards of God’s vineyard and yield a harvest of hope and promise for all people!
Father Michael Roach, Pastor, St. James Catholic Church in Liberty