Who's in the Picture?
Readings: Gen 37:3-4, 12-13, 17-28; Mt 21:33-43, 45-46
"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." Mt 21:43
In one of Rembrandt's many great biblical scenes, "Raising of the Cross," he paints himself as one of Jesus' executioners (he's the only one wearing a Dutchman's cap). By including his own image in the scene, Rembrandt acknowledges that he was no better than those who killed Jesus. He was part of the same sinful race that steadfastly resisted God. Is this a scene into which we can all paint ourselves?
In the Parable of the Tenants, Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees, but of course the message is tailored to us all. The divine role of God and His Son and the sinful role of man are all defined. God is the landlord. We are the tenants. And Jesus is the Son who comes and is murdered. The harvest that God seeks is the souls of the faithful.
What the parable sets out to remind us is that in His great love, God bestows to us His world and gives us the privileges, freedom, and responsibility to care for it. But how do we behave in return? Do we hoard it as our own for personal gain? Do we reject His only Son who is sent to save us from our sins? We all have to ask ourselves: are we listening to God's word? Are we treating the Son of God the right way?
The people of Jerusalem thought they could get rid of Jesus by killing Him. And are we any different? By neglecting Him — whether consciously or unconsciously — don't we work hand in hand with those elevating the Cross to crucify Him. Don't we become accomplices to the crime in such a way as Rembrandt humbly admitted?
When Jesus comes to acquire His inheritance, we should stand ready to offer Him our loving hearts and our faithful souls — to be His beloved followers and loyal servants.
Dear Lord, I will not reject You today or any day as I work to bring about a fruitful harvest of faith for Your glory. Make me a foundation stone for Your work of salvation. Amen.
Diary of St. Faustina
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