Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: “The Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.” When the chief priest and the Pharisees heard this, they attempted to arrest him but they feared the crowds, for they regarded him as a prophet.
This morning, while driving over to Ursuline Academy, I heard on the radio an advertisement from the Disney Company encouraging kids to audition for a movie role. I have heard this particularly annoying advertisement many, many times. But there was something different this time. Instead of telling innocent and naive moms and dads that their kids could appear in a movie and become famous like Miley Cyrus, now, the Disney Company was encouraging kids to audition by telling them that they could be like Selina Gomez! It didn’t take long for me to figure it out. Miley has become somewhat of a liability. She, like Britney and Lindsay, is no longer is the poster child for stardom. The business needs a new name, a new face, and a new innocence to exploit.
The parable of the landowner who planted a vineyard makes reference to the fact that God is the creator of the world; like it or not, and He demands, through faith and reason and human nature and divine law, that we respect this fact. Our answer to his sovereignty is measured by how well we obey the Lord’s laws, precepts and statutes. There are consequences for our actions. As we hold each other accountable, so too the Lord hold us accountable. The difference being God’s justice is always very clear, honest and fair. Ours is not always so clear, honest or fair.
“Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons, for he was the child of his old age. 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” (Gen 37:3-4). So, they tried to get rid of him. Fortunately, you cannot get rid of the truth.
As the lawyer defending the British soldiers involved in the Boston massacre; in their defense, John Adams said, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”
We all have a tendency to blur the line between objective reality and subjective sensitivities; between facts and fantasies; between an image burned in our memory and that burned from our imagination; between details and the descriptions; between truth and excuse; between justice and justifications.
In one way or another, Joseph’s brothers blamed him for their problems. They mustered themselves to justify their actions by half truths and by hiding some of the truth. They did so collectively and without reservation.
Here comes the Master Dreamer! Joseph was not hated by his brothers because he was a “Master Dreamer!” Joseph was hated because he obeyed his father’s commands; he did what he was told to do and was loved for it. And for that reason, he was hated by his brothers. Their convenient excuse was that he was the “favorite”. Their convenient lie was that they were the “victims.” But by making themselves the victims, they made Joseph a real victim. All sinners are liars and all liars are comical. I find the dramatic story of Joseph a bit amusing, like a dark comedy. Instead of killing Joseph outright, his brothers decided to sell him to the Ishmaelites because “After all, he is our brother…” Sound familiar? It should. Doesn’t it sound like a relative or a friend who continually says, “I’m going to be nice to you”, but in reality won’t? Or, “I’ve decided to forgive you rather than spread vicious and mean-spirited half-truths about you.” And then they expect us to say, “Oh, thank you for being so good to me.”
It was written that Joseph’s brothers ignored him. In Christ’s parable, we know the workers in the vineyard ignored the landowner and went into open rebellion against him. The inconvenient truth is the following: Joseph’s brothers never left him alone and the workers in the vineyard acted as if they owned the vineyard. We all have a tendency to do the same exact thing. We don’t let go or forgive easily; we don’t leave people alone. And we act like we created the world!
Lies have a tendency to turn people upside down. But in reality, lies turn the liars upside down. Don’t be fooled by the image above! It is upside down!
What is the solution? “Remember the marvels the Lord has done.” Those who forgive know that God is with them. Those who can let go live their lives like the Lord. Those who respect the Lord’s commandments are really saying, “In God we trust.”