Showing posts from September, 2011

Unfaithful Tenants in the Vineyard

A vineyard owner leased out his vineyard.  When time came to get the proceeds of the harvest, the tenants are less than forth coming.  Messengers are sent to try to get the tenants to pay up.  The tenants beat some of them up and even kill some of them.  Finally, the owner makes a decision: "I'll send my son.  It is like I will be there myself- they will have to respect my son."
  The tenants see the son coming.  They decide to get greedy.  If we kill him, too, they think, then it will all be ours.  We'll just be tenants no longer.  The son arrives and they put their thoughts into action.  Ruthlessly, the son- the heir- is killed.
  I remember the first time I really looked at this parable- sophomore year at Nazareth Academy in religion class.  We were asked to identify all of the characters.  Easy, we thought.  The owner is God, the son is Jesus, the various messengers are the prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, John the Baptist), and the tenants are the religious …

What is It?

After 45 days of wilderness wanderings, Egypt starts to look good. At least there they had food to eat and water to drink. There was a roof over their heads. Forgotten is the back-breaking enforced labor. Forgotten, too, is the bondage of slavery. Forgotten is God’s liberation through Moses and Aaron.
A combination of restlessness, hunger, and a lack of direction leads to grumbling and complaining. “Where is your so-called God now” the people ask Moses. Soon the answer comes, loud and clear. Quail and manna cover the barren desert ground. “What is it?” They ask.What is it, indeed.
“Manna” comes Moses’ answer.Manna.Bread. But this is not just any ole bread— this is special bread; bread the Lord God has provided. While the people may have forgotten God, the Lord God has not forgotten them. So the manna comes in response to their cries. Manna, a powerful and visible sign that God is with them. A sign that God cares about God’s people and faithfully provides for their needs.
Sometimes life seems like a ba…


No doubt Peter thinks he has got it made.  The Law only requires that an offender be forgiven 3 times. On the fourth time, the offender was cut off from the faith community.  An original "three strikes" rule, sort to speak.  And here Simon Peter offers to extend forgiveness seven times-- more than double what is required.  So Peter must be feeling pretty good about his generous spirit.
  Jesus, however, asks Peter to go further.  Jesus tells Peter that he must be willing to forgive some one 70 times 7 (some Bibles read 77 times or even 77 times 7).  The number 7 is often used to denote wholeness or completeness in the Bible.  So Jesus is challenging Peter- and you and me- to keep forgiving, and forgiving, and forgiving, and then to forgive some more.  Keep on forgiving until you have lost count of the number of times you offered it.  In other words, forgiveness has no limits.
  Elsewhere, Jesus links our ability to receive forgiveness with our ability to extend forgiveness…