Daily Reflection
March 12th, 2004
Don Driscoll, S.J.
Chaplain of Pharmacy and Health Professions
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Have you ever been jealous of someone?  And did you later discover why?  From the experiences of envy in my life, I found that frequently the roots lay in fear, especially the fear of inadequacy.  Through prayer I learned that this feeling emerged either from my not knowing my gifts or fearing that others' gifts were so much greater that mine did not matter.  Thus jealousy found a home in my heart.  Today's scriptures tell stories of jealousy that lead to great sin.  Here's how these stories of Jesus helped me to heal these feelings of jealousy and the underlying fears that provoked them.

Looking briefly at Matthew's parable, I remember that Jesus used parables as a teaching device.  Since most people of his time could not read or write, Jesus would tell these kinds of stories so that the audience could later piece together the clues and discover the meaning behind his stories.  So let's try that.  Parables can be divided into two types:  mirror parables, in which we glimpse ourselves; and window parables, through which we glimpse God and the Kingdom.  I feel that Matthew's parable acts as a mirror, reflecting a situation and my response to it.

In piecing together the clues of this parable puzzle the people probably understood that Jesus meant that the vineyard was Israel, the tenants were Israel's rulers into whose hands the land was entrusted, and the servants were the prophets who were ignored and killed, and the son obviously was Jesus.  The meaning for us today?  We have the great privilege of being entrusted with the vineyard, that is, to carry on Jesus' mission in establishing the kingdom.  Secondly, our call involves listening to, not ignoring, the owner's son - Jesus.

I present one caution to you.  This parable forces us to look ahead to the conclusion of Lent, Holy Week and the Son's death. Jesus calls us into the vineyard to work with him daily, using our gifts to build up the kingdom.  This often entails martyrdom, dying to our needs to fulfill his.

Lastly, the parable refers to the fact that one day we will be called to accountability for how we used our gifts in the vineyard. Jesus never gives a call without giving the gifts and graces to accomplish that call.  This story has helped me in embracing my gifts and allowing the Lord to use them.  It's the legend of the musk deer.  When the musk deer reaches puberty, there is a glandular explosion releasing the most intoxicating fragrance known to humans.  The deer then begins a relentless pursuit of the source of that beautiful fragrance.  It races and rushes endlessly, searching until it is exhausted and it dies.... never knowing that the source of that beauty lay within.

The source of our gifts, of our beauty lies within.  Listen today for his voice as you both go forward into the vineyard.

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