Welcome to the vineyard
Imagine that just before a soul begins his/her earthly journey, God takes the soul by the hand and points out a certain place on earth. God then explains to the about-to-be-conceived:
“This is going to be your piece of the vineyard. It will be yours to make of whatever you can. All I ask is that you work the land as best you can and get the most out of the soil and the shoots I give you. If you produce grapes that become the choice wine of reconciliation and justice, great; if you only have enough water and nutrients to produce a few grapes that make a small amount of the cooking sherry of humility and kindness, terrific; if you only have enough time to start a few vines that others can bring to a full harvest, you will have done well.”
But God adds: “Just don’t make the mistake that too many in my vineyard make. They get too caught up in the number of grapes that they can coax from the vines. My vineyard is about the harvest, not the profits. Remember, too, that you are responsible for the part I give you. Don’t exhaust the grapes you harvest for yourself alone and leave nothing behind but a dried, hollow tangle of dead vines. I will demand a price for what you produce-and what you squander.
“Keep in mind that everyone has his or her own piece of the vineyard. But there are no dividing lines, no fences and no property markers. Your part of the vineyard is joined to your neighbor’s-so you can do neither good nor evil in your vineyard without doing the same for others.”
God then says: “One more thing. And I don’t mean to harp on this, but it is my vineyard. Not yours. I give you a piece of it because that’s what being God is all about. An occasional thank you would be nice. But the moment you think this vineyard is yours or that you deserve better, your vineyard will become a very unhappy and unproductive place.
“So go to it.”
And then God breathes that soul into a human embryo, and another adventure begins.
[Inspired and adapted from The Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena]
God has given us a rich “vineyard” that we often take for granted, that we mar and destroy by our ignorance, greed and hatred. Christ, the son of the vineyard owner, comes with a new vision for the vineyard we only “lease” from his Father, a vision of compassion, reconciliation and justice. May we welcome Christ into this vineyard of our, aware that he calls us to the demanding work of the Gospel but determined to sow and reap the blessings of God’s reign.
Taken from Connections October 6, 2008