Dear Followers of the Anointed One,
We are very aware of the destruction of the fields, the crops and our food in the recent hurricanes, storms and earthquakes. Our plans for such security come to nothing when natural disaster strikes. The basics of life are swept away, destroyed and our lives are at risk. In faith, we know that our true lives depend on the Kingdom of Heaven, the true source of hope. However, in light of the destruction, our view is of the earth, our survival and the care of so many of our brothers and sisters.
Let’s look at today’s parable opening up another image of God’s Kingdom, our true and eternal home. This parable and image may seem so otherworldly, so out of place in the tragedies of our recent months. Yet, we gain hope in our faith during all the destruction as we place our hope in God.
Today, we break open another parable about the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew 21:33-43. Jesus tells the story about a landowner who carefully plants, protects and equips the vineyard, and about the tenants who take progressively more violent steps to usurp what is not theirs. Jesus issues judgment against the chief priests and elders. The Kingdom of God will be given to those who understand what is given— the promises made here on earth of the glory and hope of the Kingdom in Heaven.
There are many questions to be asked. What is the fruit of the kingdom? How are we to find it now? The only way to discover such a gift is to die to our selves, to discover the life that is greater than our own plans, our own egos and our own desires. This is the fertile soil on which we plant hope for the breaking open of our hearts and lives.
We die to certainty on earth. This is a difficult way to find God and yet it is the only way. There are few people who are willing to risk security and a full ego to find the true fruit of the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth. When we take the risk, God’s fidelity and love grow more deeply in the soil of our hearts, our actions and our decisions. Love only flourishes when we let go of our hatred, our violence and our illusions in order to discover a life of prayer and hope in God. The fruit of God’s Kingdom is lasting and true.
Here are some questions to consider for this week:
What have you learned in the recent storms and natural disasters? Where are you finding hope? What lessons have you learned in such experiences of powerlessness? How are you praying through these events? What does it mean for you to die to self and discover the Kingdom within your life? What does it mean for you to enter and care for the vineyard of God’s Kingdom?