Monday, June 5, 2017

Tobit is a powerful reminder of the need of the faithful to remain in fidelity to the covenant. Here we see a man who has already lost his livelihood for his continued obedience (click the link to read more)


Tobit is a powerful reminder of the need of the faithful to remain in fidelity to the covenant.  Here we see a man who has already lost his livelihood for his continued obedience to the Traditions of worship as set forth in Jerusalem.   Tobit refuses to take on the new habits of worship established by King Jeroboam in Dan, where the Northern tribes are worshipping the golden calves at Dan.    Terminated for burying the dead at the proper time, we find Tobit in today’s reading risking it all again by again following the Traditions of his people.  He reminds the people of Israel that their faith does not simply change or disappear away from the Temple in Jerusalem but is something that must permeate their lives no matter where they live or under whose political rule they discover themselves.

In direct contrast to this, we have a Parable in the Gospel of people who utterly rejected the message of God.  Colored by our understanding of Christianity and the fall of the temple in the year 70 A.D.,  we Christians see this parable as a reminder that this vineyard we live in is not our own.   God has been sending out His prophets to the chosen people, Israel, for centuries.  The rejected and murdered many of those faithful men and women.   The nation fell into exile and they were unfaithful.  The Scriptures often compare it to adultery.   Then the owner of the vineyard sends His own Son to the people in trust that they will at least respect Him.  Yet, instead of accepting God in their presence in the Son, they kill Him.  We often see direct parallels to this message in the history of Judaism and the Christian people, as did the men who reacted to the parable and wanted to arrest Jesus for His words but feared the crowds.

What then do we take this to be about for us today?  Well, I think part of the message is that this vineyard is not our own.   We often treat it like God made it for us to do with as we please.  Yet, there is a large difference in dominion, which we have been given, and domination, which is the realm of tyrannical rulers.    We are to take care of the vineyard in anticipation for the return of its owner, not just for our own comforts and wants.  In a world where Global Warming is debated or outright denied, it’s even more important that we realize that the concern should not just be for us but for all generations in the future.   Even more importantly, we should be preparing for the return of the owner and tending the garden He established for us to live in.  It reminds us that we too are often the tenants who rejected the Son and murdered Him.   Every time we turn our back on our faith in a public setting, each moment in which we deny Christ or choose another thing before Him, whenever we break any of the commandments and fail to love God with our whole heart, strength, and mind and love our neighbor as ourselves; it is our Sin that murders the Son… that stripes His most sacred body with the flagellation that we deserve… and nails Him to the cross with the three spikes of our infidelity.  

His servant and yours,
Brian Mullins

June 05, 2017 - Memorial of Saint Boniface, Bishop and Martyr
TB 1:3; 2:1A-8
PS 112:1B-2, 3B-4, 5-6
MK 12:1-12