From the Deacon’s Desk: Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts
We continue this week with two more parables about vineyards. In the first reading, Isaiah is telling us about his friend – God himself. He has a vineyard which he plants, cultivates and takes great care with. The vineyard represents the people of Israel. When it came time for the harvest, the crop of grapes were sour useless wild grapes. The people had been unfaithful and gone astray despite the great care God had taken with them.
In our gospel, Jesus picks up on the theme of the vineyard – one which his listeners, the chief priests and the elders, would have been very familiar with. Once again a landowner (God) has a vineyard which He takes great care to protect and give every opportunity to produce good fruit. This time, God turns the care of the vineyard (the people of God) over to tenants who are to be the caretakers of the vineyard. He has given them everything needed to protect and nurture the vineyard. When it came time to harvest the vineyard he sent first his servants to collect the harvest, but they were beaten and killed by the tenants. Then He sent His Son who likewise was beaten and killed. By now the chief priests and elders would have recognized themselves as the tenants in this story and the people of Israel as the vineyard. The
In Isaiah, it was the people of Israel who had been blest by God that responded poorly. In the gospel, it was the leaders – the chief priests and the elders, who have been entrusted by God, – who failed to care for and even led astray the people of Israel. Jesus is “The stone the builders rejected, who has become the cornerstone.” Happiness and security was theirs for the taking, but instead they turn on God and lose their way. Sin took hold of them.
We are called not to squander what has been entrusted to us as God’s people. God has blest us in tremendous ways as a country, and yet we find ourselves with decaying values and crumbling relationships. Paul tells us in his letter that we must come “by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” It is here that we find the presence of God – the love of God. It is here that we become the good fruit that we are called to be. We need to pray for one another rather than ‘preying on’ one another. We need to promote what is good rather than focusing on what is bad. We need to act in humility remembering that we are dependent on God and trusting in His care for us. He calls us to work together for His glory and not apart for our own. We should have a singular focus on God, on His blessings on us, and His will for our lives.
As Vincentians, we too should have a singular focus in our ministry and our lives. We have a special responsibility to care for those Jesus has entrusted to us. Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of our faith and his care and concern for the poor and vulnerable is the model for our Vincentian ministry. We should seek the Lord’s answers to those situations he places before us. In prayer and humility, we are called to care for those God places before us. How are we grateful for the blessings God places in our lives? How do we keep our eyes squarely on God’s plan for ourselves and those we minister to when seeking answers to difficulties? How do we trust in God’s plan and seek to fulfil His will always? Is prayer a cornerstone of our lives?
Father, allow me to be a faithful caretaker in your vineyard. Allow me to nurture those in need, helping them to grow in there love and hope in you. Help me to never lose sight of your will, trusting always in your ways. Allow me to grow in prayer being ever focused on our Lord Jesus. Help me to serve in humility, selflessly and with great passion. I pray all of this in your Son’s name. Amen