Scripture: Lectionary 353. Monday of 9th Ordinary week, June 4, 2012: II Peter 1:2-7. Psalm 91:1-2,14-15, 15-16. Mark 12:1-12
Contrasts are found in our readings for today and they are quite sharp. The one is a good follow-up on the readings we had from the first epistle of Peter, now in the second we are encouraged to practice the virtues that have their foundation in our Baptism. We realize that the first epistle of Peter was a great sermon on the sacrament of Baptism, now the follow-up has us practicing the virtues proper to a baptized follower of Jesus. We see in the listing of the virtues there is a chain like presentation on the part of the inspired author and a continued development of the virtues similar to what may be called later in the school of French Spirituality as “System of Virtues.” The founder of my religious congregation, Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, developed a system of virtues for us to follow and it is used by most Marianists today.
The contrast comes once the reading of the Gospel begins for we are in the midst of a powerful parable about the wicked servants entrusted with the vineyard of the Master. It is a type of parable that displays salvation history in the mention of those sent and are murdered by the wicked servants. Even the son of the Master is put to death outside the vineyard. Jesus is directing this parable against those who are intent of getting rid of him—even having him crucified.
The prophets of the past were rejected and put to torture or exiled; some were killed. We learn concretely how power can corrupt even in the Bible whenever wicked people have power over land, people, and even religion.
The contrast helps us to avoid such sinful behavior while paying attention to what the epistle of Peter tells us. We all attempt to live as followers of Jesus and to lead virtuous lives, but often the distractions of the day, the temptations we give into, and the lack of patience we manifest take away from the virtues we are called to develop. Fortunately, we are not like the wicked servants in the parable, but we are living in a world where such scenes are even more severe than the parable through war, violence, pornography, terrorism—everything against what the virtues are. We are called to make up for the sufferings of Christ those he endured because of sin and those we are to endure in his name. Paul encouraged us to make up for what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ! We can take a look at the virtues that appear in our six lines from II Peter and try to live out one of them today. This makes up in a small way for what we learn about the opposite through the parable. The virtues given to us by the sacred inspired writer are : peace, knowledge, faith, discernment (prudent listening and making good judgments), self-control, piety and care for one another. All of them lead to summit of virtues that tell us who God is—LOVE. Let us put on the mind and heart of Christ in our attempt to live out these virtues.
Even living out one of them today is a great act of love of God and neighbor. Amen.
Copyright 2012 Fr. Bertand Buby, S. M.