Nurture the Gift

This past week I was thinking about God’s response to our broken humanness and I was wondering if He ever gets tired of man’s rejection of the gift of faith. Here’s my line of thinking, starting with
the history of our faith, with Abraham.

Here’s a Bible history in less than two pages…

God made a covenant with Abraham and promised that He would make nations and kings from his descendants. Abraham became the father of the faith. Isaac was born of Abraham and Sarah. God asked Abraham to take Isaac up a hill, build an altar, and offer him as a sacrifice. Once Abraham demonstrated his ultimate faith and belief in God, God relented and changed His mind and he gave Abraham a ram to sacrifice in place of his son Isaac. Isaac had two sons, Jacob and Esau.

Jacob became the heir to the Promised Land. Jacob had 12 sons. It didn’t take very long for his sons to start messing up. Before long, they became jealous of their brother Joseph and they were going to kill him, but later decided to sell him. Joseph was brought to Egypt and became an advisor of Pharaoh and soon a long and terrible famine brought Joseph’s brothers begging to the rich land of Egypt and ultimately to their brother Joseph, whom they did not recognize. Joseph later reconciled with his brothers, he gave them plenty and invited the tribes of the brothers to settle in Egypt. Generations later they became too numerous, and the new Pharaoh became worried that the sheer number of Hebrews would overpower the Egyptians someday, so he enslaved them.

Many years later, a young Hebrew named Moses led the Jews out of Egypt back towards the Promised Land ~ the land of the covenant Abraham made with God. The tribes of Jacob’s sons were persnickety and fidgety while on the journey and they lost faith. God was upset with the people and therefore Moses and the tribes were denied access to the Promised Land. Years later, Joshua took up the staff and led the group toward Jericho and ultimately, they returned to the Promised Land. The tribes of the 12 brothers argued with each other and the Promised Land was divided into regions. For many years there was much upheaval in the Promised Land until the line of Jesse produced a sinless faith-filled young lady named Mary. Mary’s amazing faith led her to become the mother of God. God’s only begotten son: Jesus.

Jesus taught the people how to live. He used parables such as today’s Gospel of the vineyard owner. The vineyard owner is God and the vineyard is the Promised Land. The first reading from the Prophet Isaiah tells us of a vineyard on a beautiful fertile hillside (kind of like a Promised Land), on which the sower planted the choicest vines, yet wild grapes grew in this fertile land. Back to the Gospel; a landowner planted a vineyard, leased it to his tenants and later he went on a journey. Many servants of the landowner returned to the vineyard but were rejected and killed by some wild tenants. Finally, the landowner’s son returned, but he too was rejected and killed by the tenants.

Today, our world is full of wild and crazy events. I can’t think of a better response to the events of our modern world than to turn to our faith. Faith is a gift of God, which is planted in our hearts. That faith will grow when we nurture it, just like a vineyard will grow bountifully under the care of its owner.

I pray that each member of our parish community will nurture the gift, the gift of faith planted in our hearts.

Have a blessed week!

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