Friday, March 21, 2014

March 21, 2014 Friday: 3rd Week of Lent A

In the first reading, we read about Joseph and his brothers, how the latter hated him because of jealousy and how they threw him into a well before selling him to a group of Ishmaelites who brought him to Egypt. This reading shows how hatred can lead people to do horrible things to others, even to one's own kin. Cain killed Abel, Saul wanted to kill David, etc. There are so many similar stories of hatred and violence in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, the Pharisees hated Jesus and wanted to kill him. Eventually they were successful.
In the gospel, Jesus speaks about a parable in which the tenants of a vineyard kill the servants of the owner whom he has sent to collect the farm produce. Jesus was alluding to the prophets and holy men of the Old Testament who were killed by the faithless Jews. Hatred is a very serious and real emotion. We all have experienced it in our lives. Oftentimes we hate people who have mistreated us, those people we don't like or simply those whom we envy. Whatever the reason, hatred is a mortal sin. Once we realize that our hatred is destroying the image of God in us, we are called to repent of it. Man is called to love and not to hate. The owner of the vineyard did just that. He kept on sending his servants to make sure that the tenants will give fruits of goodness and holiness. But they just killed them. Finally, the owner sent His Son to them. God invites us to always reach out to our enemies, to the people we dislike or even hate. He does not want us to remain in our sins. He wants us to be free of grudges, animosity, jealousy and rancor. The question is do we want to let go of our hate and anger or do we want to continue with our sins? We must contemplate His love for us when He sent His Son to save us from our sins. God loves us. Do we want to remain in His love?