Feeling entitled creates unhappiness…gratitude motivates us to share, creating a happy today & tomorrow
The Second reading indicates to us the need for prayer – words of petition – but also action. Prayers that expect God to be a fairy Godmother doing everything for us are useless. God helps those trying to do the right thing, or those doing something searching for direction. Prayer should help us decide what to do and give us the courage to begin.
Earlier this year I read about the maize yield per acre reducing in Kenya over the last 30 years. One reason is over-cropping (no resting of land). Growing up on a wheat farm we knew the importance of letting the land rest for a year: it’s a form of giving back.
For Kenyans, we have tea production: by pruning one third of the tea bushes every year, farmers ensure that crop yield and quality are maintained at a higher level. Pruning is a way of giving back, in order to protect the future.
God places a serious challenge to us today through the image of a vineyard and workers (grapes for wine), as an image of how God created the world for us and expects some fruit each “year.”
But, as the Gospel narrates to us, the workers are determined to take over the vineyard and do what they like: giving nothing back to the owner. Here is a good example of greed.
But greed usually destroys those who are greedy. I was very sad when the Zimbabwean Government forced farmers off the land and gave to a few influential people: most of whom didn’t run the farms well and they fell into disrepair and disuse. The result was a disaster for the economy, causing millions to suffer loss of work, income, etc.
The Gospel shows that the land owner needs the workers, but the workers started thinking they do not need the land-owner.
Are we the same? Now that we are big and strong and comfortable/rich:
do we think we don’t need God? That we are strong enough?
Our personal lives are also like a tea bush or grapevine. When we cooperate with God we will have a successful and peaceful future.
When we take proper time to rest, to pray and to help others, we become richer!
Thankfully, the Gospel reveals two other important points:
1) the patience of God — – and,
2) the generosity of God sending His Son.
This is also true in our families. Sometimes children rebel against and criticise their parents. Thankfully, most parents are tolerant and patient and give the children a bit of tough love.
The children slowly learn that the world was not created to serve them,
and that happiness increases when we give back and share the needs of the family.
Perhaps now is a good time for us to reflect where we may have become “bossy” and “demanding” of others, and consider where we might need to be “pruned”, to give more back to our family, our community and our workplace.
By Gerard Conlan, OMI