Faith Daily | 18 March 2022
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p 484
Remember, O Lord,
what you have wrought in us
and not what we deserve,
and, as you have called us to your service,
make us worthy of our calling;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 21: 33-46
33“Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. 34When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. 35But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. 37Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.” 39So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.” 42Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes’? 43Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. 44The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.” 45When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. 46They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Cheryl Courtice
The words that stand out for me in this reading are "what will he do” and “the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom.”
In these verses God demonstrates his trust in us as he pays us the compliment of entrusting us with his work. Just as everything we have comes from God, every task we receive is a task given to us, by God, to do something with. He also gives us the freedom to do the task as we see fit.
We are very privileged that God does not only give us a task to do, he also gives us the means whereby to do it and is exceedingly patient when we don’t do it properly or take a long time about it.
However, we are answerable in how we ultimately handle the task and direct opposition to God is never a good move. “God’s sternest judgement is when he takes out of our hands the task which he meant for us to do.” (William Barclay)
As it is pointed out in this reading, “Jesus is the foundation stone on which everything is built, and the cornerstone which holds everything together. To refuse his way is to batter one’s head against the walls of the law of God. To defy him is in the end to be crushed out of life.” (William Barclay)
Initially I felt a little overwhelmed thinking that I already have more tasks to do than I am feeling comfortable with, and would be grateful for some of them to be given to someone else. However, after a lovely Lenten study with some very wise women, I was able to take a big breath (and breathe God in) and relax.
I have a relationship with God that I am very grateful for. Together we can work out how to handle the tasks that come my way with joy, calm, peace and confidence, knowing that we have the best guidance and support there is.
FINAL PRAYER: TiS 457 SJ Stone 1839-1900
The church’s one foundation
is Jesus Christ her Lord:
she is his new creation
by water and the word:
from heaven he came and sought her
to be his holy bride;
with his own blood he bought her,
and for her life he died.
Through toil and tribulation
and tumult of her war
she waits for the consummation
of peace for evermore,
till with the vision glorious
her longing eyes are blessed,
and the great church victorious
shall be the church at rest.