Readings: Genesis 37:3-4,12-13,17-28, Ps. 105:16-21, Matthew 21:33-43,45-46

“Here comes this dreamer. Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; then we shall say that a wild beast has devoured him, and we shall see what will become of his dreams.” (Genesis 37:19-20)

In yesterday’s first reading, we heard the prophet Jeremiah saying that man’s heart is deceitful above all things and desperately corrupt. Today’s first reading gives us a glimpse of how the human heart can be deceitful and corrupt. Prompted by envy, Joseph’s brothers sold him off to the Midianites, thinking that by doing so, they would put an end to his dreams.

Meanwhile, in today’s Gospel passage, Jesus gives us another example of how the human heart could be desperately corrupt. A man planted a vineyard and employed some tenants, but the tenants refused to give him his share of the harvest. They beat up those he sent to collect his share and even decided to kill his son. Today’s readings contain a lot of lessons, which include:

1. God Expects Us To Be Fruitful: No man is without talents or cheated regarding gifts. Everyone is a bundle of potential, but you only need to look inward to notice yours. When we focus on others, we begin to assume we are not blessed or that we are not good enough, and this is the origin of envy – wishing evil for others just because of their unique gifts. Like the brothers of Joseph in the Old Testament, we could become so overwhelmed by envy that we begin to think that our survival depends on eliminating others. We begin to think that we can only shine when we quench that of others. This is the insanity of the envious mind.

2. There is Enough Space for Everyone to Shine: To think that someone’s light has to go off before yours can shine is to have a very limited mindset, which is the opposite of God’s mind. The funny thing is that in trying to quench others’ light, we only succeed in making them shine brighter, and then, we destroy ours. The householder demanded harvest from the vineyard because He knew what the vineyard could produce. God expects us to shine rather than fight others because of their gifts. The tenants of the vineyard had a limited mindset; instead of thinking of how to plant their vineyards, they had eyes on that of their master, and they assumed the only way they would own theirs was to kill the son of their master.

3. We All Have Unique Talents and Abilities: This parable of Jesus continues to play out today. Many believe they would rise by destroying others. Remember that the razor blade and the axe can cut, but while the razor cannot cut trees, the axe cannot shave beards. We would do a great disservice to God if we fought each other because of their gifts. Count your blessings, develop your gifts, and work on yourself. Stop comparing yourself with anyone else; compete only with yourself. Seek to become a better version of yourself each day. Perhaps, while working on yourself, you too will realise why you thought they were proud for showing off their gifts.

4. Don’t Hide your Talents Because of Those Trying to Pull You Down: Keep shining. The God who gave you these gifts will protect you as He protected Joseph. If they throw a stone at you, build a house with it. If they throw hot water on you, use it to cook. They may only try to stop you, but in the end, God will have the last laugh as the landowner did over the tenants.

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, help me to use all the talents and gifts you have placed within me so that when I die, I will return to you empty. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Friday of the 2nd week of Lent. Bible Study: Genesis 37:3-4,12-13,17-28, Ps. 105:16-21, Matthew 21:33-43,45-46).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu