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Hearing with the Heart’s Ear

The Gospels we have been hearing during this second week of Lent have been associated with the chief priests’ of the Temple and the Pharisees’ questioning of Jesus’ authority. Our liturgies pointed us in the direction of being careful about judging others based on our own assessments rather than that of God’s. For example, on Monday we heard Jesus explain: “the measure you give will be the measure you get back”. A good reminder for ourselves to memorize. On Tuesday we heard Jesus warn the leaders of the people: “the greatest among you shall be your servant”. Something to keep pondering while we continue our Lenten journey. Wednesday was a bit more sobering when Jesus warned his disciples: “the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”. Here Jesus lived what he preached.

Yesterday and today, Jesus taught through parables, an even deeper warning about hypocrisy and hubris among the leaders of the people, that is, the leaders of Israel. He concluded each parable with the summation: “if they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead”; and “the stone which the builders rejected has become the (capstone?).

Then what is it we are to hear from these Gospel passages this week? They seem to be warnings, in the sense of asking us to pay attention to how we are living our lives in this day and age. In today’s parable of the violent farm workers, things went from bad to worse to the very worst in that the only son was murdered and thrown out of the vineyard. We, too, are like the farm workers. The owner, God, asks us to produce fruit: goodness, mercy, compassion for one another. Yet we are living in a violent world and the evil of violence is all around us. But we have been given a conscience, a moral compass, by which we can steer our lives. We have a choice in how we modern day vineyard workers can respond. We do not have to act the same way as in the past, over and over again. We have the ability to decide to act differently, in a better way, out of love and caring for one another. As we continue our journey, let us take heed and keep the ears of our hearts open to what our Beloved God is saying to us. Blessings to all.

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