God’s vineyard demands righteous tending.

In one sense, both readings of today address the issues of “corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.” First Peter names it; the gospel of Mark illustrates it in parable. Sadly, we begin by thinking that Jesus is addressing only the chief priests, scribes, and elders with His parable. It’s those nasty people then whom He means. They are the one with hearts willing to protect “theirs” by murder. The gospel becomes truly saving when and if we allow this parable to speak to us directly today.

Many of the world’s inhabitants or tenants have rejected God’s Son and have failed to work His vineyard. The population of the world (or size of vineyard) has grown and the number of souls to be saved has greatly increased. Ask yourself if you are working the vineyard as God desires. Ask if you are shamefully treating His servants and rejecting His son.  We apply this parable to our lives by asking two questions; first, have you come to know Christ as you Lord and Savior, or have you rejected Him like the Jewish leadership did? The process is simple, as long as you are sincere in seeking a relationship with Christ. You need to recognize your sins, and then accept Christ as the only One who can save you from the penalty of your sins. Second, if you are a believer, what have you done with Jesus? Are you like the bad tenants, rejecting His Word and living a life of disobedience? If you are, you need to study God’s Word and pray for guidance, seeking His will for your life and living out that will as best as you can, moment by moment, day by day.

We all have a tendency to slip into moments where we are tempted by evil desire.  We escape this evil corruption by living a life through the attributes outlined in today’s reading.  God’s grace is given to us because we all have the ability to live a life without evil in it.  We are graced with perseverance not only through self-control, but also through afflictions suffered for love of Jesus. Thus, we should “count it pure joy” when we “are involved in every sort of trial”. We must vigilantly watch and pray so as not to fall into temptation.

Many times, when we think of peace, we think of the absence of violence. To achieve this peace, there would be no more wars, no more murder. Sadly, in our fallen state we never get to this type of peace and we live with constant violence. But to think of peace in this way misses a big point. True peace is something that happens inside us through the work of the Holy Spirit and the power of grace. Our Lord said to His disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you.” From this, it is clear that the peace of Christ is not the absence of violence since His peace is not the peace of the world. We hear these same words at Mass, and we offer each other a sign of Christ’s peace. If  your relationship with God is constantly growing and getting stronger, you will feel this peace. “Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

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