By: Rev. Fr. Sylvanus AMEH
Readings: Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalm 80; Philippians 4:6-9; Matthew 21:33-43
There once was a woman whose husband died and left her with three young children. The woman had to struggle very hard to ensure that the children neither starved nor went naked or wore rags. Despite the fact that though the husband did not leave much for them to go by and the society in which she lived was unkind to widows, she did her best to make sure her children did not lack the basic necessities of life. Apart from working multiple menial jobs, she also had to sell her belongings of high value just to make ends meet and ensure her children went to school and have a good life. Eventually, they all grew up and went out to live on their own. They got good jobs and they were each doing well. One time, their mother fell ill and words was sent to each of the three children to come take care of their mother, but they all had one excuse or the other to not go. And their mother lamented bitterly, telling her friend that after all she did for them, they could abandon her. And so she asked her friend, “What more was I supposed to have done for them that I did not do?” So to her it was like all her love and resources she committed to raising them was wasted investment.
This story reflects the picture painted in the readings of today’s Mass, especially the first reading in which God complained about the house of Israel that after all he did to make her fruitful, when he looked for grapes, she produced only wild grapes. And God asked the question, “What more was there to do for my vineyard, that I have not done it?” In the gospel reading, Jesus tells the parable of the vineyard tenants who, instead of turning over the produce of the vineyard to the owner, turned around to kill his messengers and his son. So to God it was like all he did and all he committed to making the house of Israel fruitful was wasted investment. And children of God, we are that house of Israel.
One of the reasons God created us and continually endow us with his graces is so that we can be productive and bear the fruit of souls won for the kingdom of heaven. This is what Jesus meant when he described himself as the vine and we, his people, as the branches (cf Jn 15:1-8). Jesus emphasized there, the need for us to be fruitful and how the unfruitful branch will be cut down by the Father. This means, dear children of God, that God shall hold us to account for the graces he invests in us. As with the servants in the parable of the talents, and as we heard in the first and gospel readings of today’s Mass, so shall God demand account from us for all of the graces he has given us. When that day comes, will it be that what God has entrusted to us will be counted as wasted investment? All that we need to live righteously and also win souls for God, he has already given us, but the question is, how are we using them? Saint Paul said in his First Letter to the Corinthians that the grace of God in him has not been fruitless (15:10). What about us? Can we say the same of ourselves, that the graces of God in us have not been wasted? Or are the graces of God in us wasted investment?
Today, we must resolve, dear brothers and sisters, not to waste the opportunities that God offers us to be good, to do good, and to win souls for heaven. We must do well also, not to waste the grace of God upon our lives. We must therefore make effort to see that when God comes knocking on our doors, he will not have any cause for complaint. Live your life well, dear friend, that you may not be a wasted investment of grace. Amen