Today’s gospel follows the continuation of the vineyard parable and touches on the wickedness of men. God is referred to as the landowner who planted the vineyard and gave the place to men to run it. It shows the wickedness of the hearts of men that is capable of destroying God’s plan. Even when God sent his Son, Jesus to salvage the situation, the tenants still “killed” him, the heir. However God promises us that, “The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.” (Matthew 21:33-43).
This week, the theme of love was brought up during the Catholic Society Mass where Fr Alex shared about the life story of St Therese of Lisieux. Her feast day is on 1st October. She had a great devotion at a young age to Jesus and love for others. St Therese was known as the “Little Flower” for her great act of humility and submission to the will of God , and not doing great deeds but small ones that often went unnoticed. St Therese said, “Whosoever is a little one, come to me.” It is your arms, Jesus, that are the lift to carry me to heaven. And so there is no need for me to grow up: I must stay little and become less and less.” Many times, we seek to be great and seek recognition, but Jesus recognizes our small deeds when we care and love for others who are less deserving.
Since joining the music cell group in school, music has become for me another way where the message of God’s love is translated in the lyrics of a hymn that Fr Alex shared in his homily, “Make Me a Channel of your Peace”. It shows that we are called to love despite all the negativity and shortcomings that we may face.
Make me a channel of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me bring Your love,
Where there is injury, Your pardon Lord,
And where there’s doubt, true faith in You
Make me a channel of your peace,
Where there’s despair in life let me bring hope,
Where there is darkness – only light,
And where there’s sadness, ever joy
Oh Master, grant that I may never seek,
So much to be consoled as to console,
To be understood, as to understand,
To be loved, as to love with all my soul
Jesus provides everything that we need in our lives and he has given us free will to make the choices in our life. Also, he calls us to continue to love people without judgement. It is sometimes so hard to love people who have criticized us, rejected us and dislike us due to their own perception of us; yes, it is hard to still love them and forgive them. In life, it can be hard to find people who love you for who you are and we must know that despite our imperfections, Jesus still loves us unconditionally. The love of Jesus also extends to loving our own kind and creation itself too.
Today also marks the feast day of St Francis of Assisi and the blessing of animals on World Animal Day that took place at the Church of St Mary of the Angels. Looking at the number of animals being blessed by the friars today made me realise the importance of loving the things that God has given us, be it little or great. The love of Jesus has united men and animals together to care for each other as companions with respect and companionship. Animals also ask very little from us, such as food and water but they give us warmth, happiness and are great stress relievers with their antics!
Jesus’s death on the cross also shows us that through his sacrifice and pain, he died so as to show that he loves us and wants us to repent, and to know that there is still hope. The hope comes from the resurrection and the kingdom of God, a message that has been repeated in the past week’s gospel reading. I hope that I can love like Jesus did and not judge others but to accept them and guide them back to God.
Also, it is not easy to love those who judge us for who we are based on the situations in life but Jesus’ example of unconditional love will help me show both care and concern to the people that I encounter in life. When we feel that nobody seems to love or understand us for who we are, know that Jesus always loves us as he wants to know us better and bear with us all the pains, trials and difficulties that come our way.
Jesus, I trust you to guide me through a new week in school and to make the right decisions so that I may do your will.
God Bless! and may we experience Jesus’s love even when we feel that we are not loved or appreciated by others.
Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong