Greetings fellow Network of Love Lovers,
TGIF! The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, spring is lurking. I wish you all the safest and happiest of Friday the 13th's (resist the urge to be superstitious!).
Just a few thoughts. Today's gospel reading, from the later part of Matthew Chapter 21 is a parable about a man who owns a vineyard and leases out some of his land to tenants. When the man sends his servants to the land, the tenants kill them. He sends servants again, and again the tenants kill them. Finally, the man sends his son. Mercilessly, the son is also murdered.
Sounds familiar if you consider the Passion narrative. God sends his son, Jesus of Nazareth, and the people kill the son who is seeking to bring a new, controversial message.
We can also relate Jesus to the servants who were killed and we can in turn relate the servants to Jesus (or the son within the parable). As we know, there are still people killed ruthlessly, for no reason other than who they are or what they believe. We generally label these types of acts of violence, when carried out, hate crimes; someone taking another person's life because they hate them for who they are. One example: People tied to cars to be brought to death through slowly being dragged around on a rope, the killing of an innocent victim. This kind of stuff STILL happens. Only a month ago in New York City, an Ecuadorian man was dragged to death and cursed at. Anti-Hispanic and Anti-gay slurs were yelled at the man while he was tortured.
Martyrdom is not some outdated term used to describe early victims of faith---it continues every day of our lives---maybe not directly affecting us, but affecting our relationship, in some sense, with the body of humanity.
Despite the fact that, over the centuries, we have metaphorically repeated and repeated the killing of Jesus, the crucifixion of someone who peacefully accepted torturous death, God is patient with us. In the parable in today's gospel, God returns, in a sense, to the tenants. God wants to win over the hearts and minds of these people, to forgive them. They kill the son. But God is patient. God still works in their life, waiting for them to come home.
May we be patient, just as our God is patient. May we peacefully accept others and non-violently deal with our differences. When rifts become more than constructive conversation, we run the risk of crucifying Christ again. We can do this in a multitude of ways. But I suspect that if we put our stake in the fact that Christ can redeem and replenish us, that God is really patient with us beyond any of our expectations, then we can hope that non-violence---ultimately Peace and Love---can pave the way for a Christ-centered life full of resurrection and communal possibilities.
Christians continue our Lenten journey. It has been over two weeks since Ash Wednesday. As we move days closer to our celebration of the Resurrection, we fast in preparation for that feast. I hope that this season is preparing you to bring the peace and love of Christ to all. I pray that we may have the courage to be Christ-like with one another, no matter the difficulties or struggles we might face. JUNTOS SOMOS FUERTES! (together we are strong). Communion with one another, community, can move us forward like a ship on its way to the seas beyond the horizon.
Have a splendid weekend!!! Enjoy the warming weather and spending time hopefully with friends and family. God is with you : )
peace and blessings,
your friend bob.