Tuesday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
The Responsorial Psalm reminds us to think clearly because “The Lord comes to judge the earth” (Psalm 96).
Jesus came from a rural background. He talks a lot about harvests and vineyards.
The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”1
He compared those who worked for him to tenant-farmers and vineyard laborers.2 So we, who are his stewards, need to accept some responsibility for the harvest scene described in Revelation 14: 14-19. The “fully ripe” harvest are those whom we have helped bring to spiritual maturity. As Christ’s stewards, we were all given gifts
to equip the saints for the work of ministry, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, and form that perfect man who is Christ come to full stature.3
Those who are the “grapes of wrath” are our failures. Even though we are not always personally blameworthy, they are always causes of regret.
Luke 21: 5-11 warns us to be clear about what we are working for: it is people, not buildings or institutions!
The temple was the most sacred symbol in Israel. It was almost the embodiment of the People. In fact, Jesus said it would be replaced by his living body, the Church. 4 But he tells his disciples that the temple and all these other “things that you see” are dust. “The day will come when not one stone will be left on another; it will all be torn down.”
We easily slip into making idols out of things that are important to us: a church building, a school, an historic city like Rome; even God-inspired institutions and movements, from religious orders to devotions we grew up with. But Jesus restores our perspective: at the end of time, when he comes as King to reign, nothing will matter except the people who are saved or lost. They must always be the focus of our stewardship. It is individual people, persons, that we will answer for. All the rest — the reform of structures, renewal of the environment, transformation of society — whose importance can hardly be exaggerated, are still always ultimately secondary.
So Jesus says, “Don’t rush around!” Don’t act like the end of the world is coming until I come. And when I do come, you will know it!
Initiative: Be Christ’s steward. Look to essentials. Grow people.
1 Matthew 9:37; 13:30. 2 Matthew 20: 1-16; 21: 28-42; Luke 16: 1-13. 3 Ephesians 4: 11-13; add 14-16;Galatians 4:19. 4 John 2:19; Mark 14: 58