Friday in the Second Week of Lent

Scripture Readings: Gen 37:3-4, 12-13a, 17b-28a; Mt 21:33-43, 45-46

It’s maybe not a big surprise that men who are as vicious as the wicked tenants described in this morning’s gospel are not very clear in their thinking, but they really are mistaken to say “Let us kill him”.  Murder cannot be made a form of common work.  Killing someone, is not something you can do while enjoying the benefits of human fellowship.  Murder is something you do alone. 

Some here will remember the Chicago archdiocesan exorcist we had as a guest speaker a number of years ago who told us: “Demons don’t do anything – together.  That is because they hate each other as much as they hate us.  Every demo

n acts alone.”  This insight has led many theologians to ponder the question: is evil actually self-annihilating?  Scripture in various instances suggests that evil is essentially self-consumptive; evil, seeming to grow is actually eating itself alive.  We need to bear this in mind when interpreting the statement: “The Master will bring those wretched tenants to a wretched end.”  Keep reading and watch what the Master actually does. 

What the Master does in response to his son’s murder is rent his vineyard to other tenants.  It is not at all clear that the Master himself punishes the murderers of his Son, He simply carries on the work he planned from the beginning: planting and cultivating the fruit of a vineyard for the nourishment and enjoyment of his beloved children.  The punishment suffered by the wicked tenants is their freely chosen separation from gainful employment, from the fruits of the vineyard, from the Master of the vineyard, from His Son, and finally from one another until each stands in the solitary darkness of a condition he chose for himself. 

Hell, finally, is something you do for your self.  God who is Love, is not made suddenly hateful and vindictive because human beings do stupid things.  We don’t have that kind of control over God.  As we proceed to the Eucharist, let us each relinquish any coveting of the fruit of the Master’s vineyard and, through His Son, let us renew our love and thankfulness to the Master of the vineyard who every day is emptying basket after basket of delicious fruit into our laps, good measure running over even to fullness of life with Him in eternity.