March 13, 2020 – 2nd Week of Lent

“Working for Project Kingdom with commitment!”

(Based on Gen 37:3-4, 12-13, 17-28 and Mt 21:33-43, 45-46)

An incident is said about a former American astronaut who took over as the President of a major airline.

He determined to make the airline’s service the best in the industry.

He sought ‘commitment to work’, by all the employees in all the departments.

One day, as the new president walked through a particular department, he saw an employee resting…
… with his feet on a desk, while the telephone on the desk rang continuously. .

“What are you doing? Aren’t you going to answer that phone?” the boss demanded.

“This isn’t my department, Am here, just to relax!” answered the employee, with a total indifference!

(He had not recognized his new boss, and so chose to answer with apathy!)
“I work in the maintenance department”, he went on to say.

“Not anymore!” snapped the president, “You no longer will work in my company!”

The President, with his liking for “committed work” and “achieving excellence”…
… made sure there was no room for “people with lack of commitment and zeal!”

As Christians, we are all co-workers of the Project Kingdom!

Do we work with commitment?
… or are we often found to be people of indifference, “lacking commitment and zeal?”

The Gospel of the Day is a strong message to examine one’s level of commitment to the Kingdom of God…
… exhorting to do away with any “personal agenda” or “selfish motives”

And seeks to impress the personality of Jesus…
… Who desires to be the ‘Centre of our Life’!

In the Gospel today, Jesus puts forward the parable of the tenants.

The tenants were entrusted with the vineyard by the Master, and were expected to provide the produce in due time.

They were entrusted fully with the taking care of the vineyard.

The Master places a lot of trust in the servants.

He gives the freedom… a responsible freedom…
…which could be meaningfully used and nurtured
…or which could be woefully misused and manipulated.

However, the tenants, who were trusted immensely…
… probably lost their focus on the real trust and diminished in their commitment and responsibility to their Master as well as their duty.

Their personal interests gained greater prominence over their entrusted duties.
Their selfish agenda gained the upper hand over the faithfulness to the Master.

This led to them to a total denial of all the emissaries and servants of the Master, who were sent to collect the produce.

This denial was extended even to the Master’s own Son!

This denial of the Son led to the letting loose of the anger and fury of the Just Master!
•       A squandering away of the responsible freedom, led to the downfall of the tenants!
•       A failure to give heed to the emissaries and servants caused them to face the Master’s rage!
•       A denial and rejection of the Master’s own Son, with a cruel intent, caused their destruction!

Are we also, as Christians, as tenants of the Heavenly Master failing in our responsibilities and duties?

The Lord presents Himself as the cornerstone…
… “the stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone..” (Mt 21:42)

In ancient practices of building, the cornerstone was the principal stone.

It was placed at the corner of the edifice or the building.

The cornerstone was usually one of the largest, the most solid, and the most carefully constructed of any in the whole building structure.

A cornerstone gives direction to the rest of the foundation.
It also is the support on which the rest of the building relies for strength and stability.

Jesus is the cornerstone…of Salvation… of the Church… of His People!

At the same time, Jesus can also be “a stumbling block”

As it is written in Romans 9:33, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense,
And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame”

•       To those who believe, Jesus is the cornerstone of their faith and their life.
•       To those who do not believe, Jesus is the stumbling block in their faith!    

In the Old Testament, the sons of Israel rejected Joseph, their “dreamer brother”

Yet, God, in His Divine Providence, would redeem Joseph, the “rejected one”
Joseph prefigures Jesus, the “rejected cornerstone but a stumbling block to many”, Who would redeem the entire world!

Who is the Lord in our life?

The cornerstone? or a stumbling block?

The cornerstone to build a wonderful life in God and grow in holiness…

Or a stumbling block which causes us to be proud in our own merits and not depend on Him?

The cornerstone to stand firm and strong in faith to withstand every storm of life…

Or a stumbling block which makes us uncertain, hesitant and cause a collapse in life?

As Christians, we are indeed co-workers of the Project Kingdom!

The Master has entrusted the vineyard to us
… our homes, our places of work, our neighbourhood, our families and communities…
…. the people we meet daily, the problems we encounter constantly, the situations we are challenged with…

These are “our vineyard!”

Do we work with commitment?

Or are we often found to be people of indifference, “lacking commitment and zeal?”

Let us never have to hear from Our Master, “Not anymore! You no longer will work in my company!”

… let us do away with any “personal agenda” or “selfish motives” as the workers of the Vineyard…
And seek to be impressed by the personality of Jesus…
… making Him the Centre of our Lives!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Holiness is found in a path opened to us in our daily lives…

… the duties of our daily lives are offered to us with unequal attractiveness!”

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