Friday of the Second Week of Lent
Genesis 37:3-4, 12-13a, 17b-28a and Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46
Today’s readings have a common theme, a harsh lesson, and a stimulus for good behavior. In the first reading from Genesis the jealousy and resentment of Joseph’s brothers clouds their vision so completely that they are willing to forget about their father and their kinship with Joseph. “When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his sons, they hated him so much that they would not even greet him.”
In the second reading from the Gospel of John, the landowner sends his servants to obtain the produce from the fields–twice–but the tenants kill and beat them. Finally, the landowner sends his son, thinking he would be respected. The tenants are again blinded by jealousy and resentment, to say nothing of greed. “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’ They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.”
We know the outcome for the perpetrators is not good. The brothers of Joseph eventually come to their senses when they are saved from famine because of Joseph’s forgiveness–but they had a lot of explaining to do to their father. The tenants are not so fortunate; they experience the same fate as the landowner’s servants and son. Jesus feels similar rejection: Resentment and jealousy is shaping the behavior of the chief priests and Pharisees, which will result in Jesus’ crucifixion and death.
These Lenten Scriptures afford us the opportunity to consider how our decisions and behaviors are affected by jealousy, resentment, and greed. My first reaction is to think I would never conduct myself like the brothers and tenants and religious leaders; however, closer consideration causes me to ask how fully I appreciate and recognize the honors others receive, how generous I am in acknowledging the achievements of my colleagues, and how grateful I am for their gifts that do so much to further the good reputation of our University. My resolution is to ponder how I can do better.
Sr. Katarina Schuth, OSF
Professor/Endowed Chair for Social Scientific Study of Religion