Today’s parable, implies that boundless forgiveness is the way in Christ’s Kingdom. The first official has a boundless debt ( he could never come close to repaying it; it makes you wonder how he was allowed to run up such a debt, but look at our country’s debt!). The king has mercy and forgives it all! This official goes out and refuses to forgive a very payable debt owed him by a fellow servant. This causes the king to recall and condemn the first official. The point is very clear: to be forgiven means to forgive others.
In the midst of our Lenten observance, the Church presents us with a Solemnity connected to Christmas, the Annunciation. (This means that there are 9 months to Christmas!) The Solemnity reminds us why that baby was born: to win our salvation through His suffering, death, and resurrection. (The Paschal Mystery) Everything is put back into proper perspective.
The truth is that we have all drawn back from what God has asked of us; we have all feared that God’s requests would crush us. Maybe, that is why we haven’t participated in a ministry or committed financially. In fact, it is the alternatives that we have accepted that have crushed us. When we are completely honest with ourselves, we can always identify some things we need to stop doing. How do we use our time? Our money? Do we say that certain people or things are our priorities and then act in a way that contradicts such assertions? God’s truth about us never leaves us where the truth found us. It leads us to the next step as God in the burning bush led Moses to the next step. The truth of the matter is that God is more present to us in the Eucharist than God was present to Moses in the burning bush. Are we ready to trust God and take the next step on our faith journey?
Who do you identify with in the parable: the father, the youngest son, or the elder son? And why?
Christians take pleasure in belonging to the Christian community, but, like the tenants in the parable, don’t always produce for the community. In the parable, we hear how God will take the vineyard away from the tenants (Israel) and give it to a people who will produce fruit. If we want to belong to the Christian community, we must produce fruit.
The parable of the “Rich Man (no name) and Lazarus=Eleazar=God helps”. Death reveals that wealth is no guarantee of God’s favor. Even in hell, the rich man remains in character: ordering Abraham to order Lazarus to perform services for him. This unique parable from Luke reminds us that we need to live the adage that only concern for others can bring us real security.
This is the Third Prediction by Jesus of His impending passion and death. James and John’s mother asks for special places of leadership in Jesus’ Kingdom. Jesus says that His disciples are to be servant leaders. They should find their paradigm for leadership in the cross. They may aspire to leadership but that leadership should result in service to others. He is the model.