Monthly Scripture Reflection

“know how you were chosen.”
1 Thessalonians 1:4

“What more was there to do…that I did not do?” A plaintive plea, as the October readings show offers of employment and invitations to feasts that the intended recipients rejected. Why?

Just listen to all Isaiah says God wants to do for us: He will “provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wine.” He will “destroy the veil” [of death and suffering] and “wipe away the tears from every face.”  “God will fully supply whatever you need.” Like Paul we “can do all things in him who strengthens us.” The power of the Holy Spirit will help us in our “works of faith”, “labors of love”, and “endurance in hope.”

But even with all these assurances of help, the ingrates in Jesus’ parables cannot respond in goodness. The vineyard owner has supplied the needs for his tenants all along, but they mistreat the messengers who come to collect the proceeds – and the son they even killed. Sound familiar? The grand wedding feast is ready, but all those who had received “save the date” messages were suddenly too wrapped up in their own interests to even be civil. Would we be among those chosen to fill in? And would we have the proper garment? (Of good works, perhaps.)

During all this teaching Jesus was doing, the Pharisees were always plotting how to trip him up. “Oh teacher,” they smarmily asked, “is it all right to pay taxes?” Jesus of course called them on it. “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, to God what is God’s.” “Oh teacher” – – – “What commandant is the greatest?”   Love God with all your being and love your neighbor as yourself sums the law all up.

Who, me? My neighbor? Yes you. Your neighbor.

“I have called you by your name.”
Isaiah 45:3

Terry Schulte, MASL