“Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a winepress in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another.
Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.” So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.” Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes’? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom.
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.
“By the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes.” The phrase from Psalm 118 reminds me of a path through despairing moments, which arrive when my efforts collapse. Sometimes, I feel bruised and beaten as I attempt to ease the path for dying people and their families. With great regularity, I forget that I am not the architect and builder of a towering edifice but a servant, trying to bring God’s love.
When I can shift my attention from my agenda and failings, I note what God has wrought in my life, I behold wondrous things: a soft smile on cracked lips, a woman sharing memories from 1914, a whispered, “Amen” as I say the Lord’s Prayer.
We fill our planners easily and rush through our work. In these Lenten days, might we pause, gaze with wonder, and note what the Lord has done?
—Maureen M. Martin is a writer, spiritual director and hospice chaplain, living in Evanston, IL.
Lord, today I claim this truth: that you truly do work through me if I surrender my ego to be filled with your Spirit. Amen.
Please share the Good Word with your friends!