Reading I: Isaiah 5:1-7
Reading II: Philippians 4:6-9
GOSPEL: Matthew 21:33-43
The Big Picture
It’s a fact of life – sometimes we get too focused on the task at hand and we lose sight of the bigger picture. It’s a problem that all of us will face at one time or another. No matter how hard we try to keep things in perspective, it’s inevitable that our perception will get just a wee bit out of whack.
Ignorance is Bliss?
In the Gospel reading for this Sunday, Jesus tells the Parable of the Wicked Tenants to the chief priests and elders. Jesus ends by saying that the Kingdom of God will be taken away from these people and given to others.
Now, I wonder if the chief priests and elders thought they were doing anything wrong. It seems possible that they believed they were doing God’s work – and were simply resisting the possibility that they, themselves, might have gotten a bit off course. Unfortunately for them, ignorance may have been bliss, but it won’t be a defense in the final reckoning!
Life can be overwhelming at times and it’s too easy to get off course while truly believing that we haven’t strayed. There are even times when we feel perfectly justified in doing the things that take us off course but, in truth, we aren’t looking at the whole picture. And when we don’t look at the big picture, things can get even more confused!
If you’re involved at all with your Parish community, I’m sure you’ve come across this scenario:
A group of people start a worthwhile project; one that really allows them to do the Lord’s work. Somewhere along the line, however, pride and ego start to creep in. Eventually, certain people in the group become headstrong and start assuming that they know the correct way of performing the work. Once this happens, these individuals won’t let anything get in their way! In the end, people leave the group, disheartened by the non-Christian attitude that has taken hold.
Just like the chief priests and elders, we sometimes lose sight of the reason we are here – to live our lives so that we glorify God. Everything we do – the way we play, the way we learn, the way we love – should be done in such a way as to show the world that we are Christians.
Another danger we face is that it is far too easy for us to lose sight of the one who put us here. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we forget that creation doesn’t belong to us, but rather to God. Just like the wicked tenants, we act as though this world is ours, when in reality, God has simply entrusted us with it for a while.
Lessons from the Wicked Tenants
Jesus used this parable to illustrate the way the Pharisees had been treating the prophets over the years. The question he asks of them is, “What will the owner of the vineyards do to those tenants when he comes?”
Their answer, of course, helps illustrate Jesus’ point even further. “He will put those wretched men to a wretched death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper times.”
So the first lesson is this:
“Be quick to accept people and slow to judge them.”
The messengers of God come in all shapes and sizes, so you never know with whom you’re dealing!
And the second lesson is this:
“Don’t forget who the landlord is.”
This parable also demonstrates what happens when we get too big for our britches – when we think that we have it all figured out – we start getting greedy, and we want it all for ourselves. The Lord has blessed us with creation and placed it in our care, yet we often deny that it all still belongs to Him!
The bottom line is that we need to look at the big picture. We need to understand the true reasons we are here. And we need to realize that when we get caught up in the day-to-day details of our world, those details become our world. We forget that everything isn’t about us. It’s about God.
GOD is the Big Picture!
When was a time that you lost sight of the big picture?
Regarding that incident, was ignorance bliss?
How well do you care for God’s creations?
Original article by Brandon Jubar, 2005 – 2020.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.