With every day that passes, I grow more and more convinced how ugly the world is, of how much suffering there is, and, unfortunately, of how it is the good who suffer the most. Meanwhile, we who have been given so many of God’s blessings have repaid Him poorly. This is an awful reality that racks my brain; while I’m studying, every so often I ask myself: will I continue on the right path? Will I have the strength to persevere all the way? In the face of this pang of doubt, the faith given to me in Baptism reassures me of this: by yourself, you will accomplish nothing, but if you place God at the center of all your actions, then you will reach the goal.
—Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati
Today’s Gospel reading—the parable of the tenant farmers who kill the master’s son to try and gain his inheritance—reminds us of the ugliness in the world, as well as the ugliness that exists in our own hearts. The tenants are consumed with selfishness, and instead of having any gratitude for the gifts that have already been offered them, they seek to take more and more for themselves, showing no concern for others. They take advantage of the son’s goodness and innocence; they slaughter what is pure to serve their own ends. They plot and scheme, relying upon their own shrewdness to try and get ahead, instead of upon the master’s goodness.
Sometimes we have to lose faith in our own desires and plans in order to develop a real faith, a faith that is built upon trust in God. We need to learn to trust in His ways, mysterious though they seem to us at times. He will lead us to eternal life if we let Him take control. But so often, we are like the vineyard workers in today’s parable, who try to take matters into their own hands and seize an inheritance, instead of waiting for their due and trusting that their master will provide for them in His time. When we find ourselves acting out of selfishness and insecurity, we can change our disposition by cultivating peace and gratitude for the blessings we have been given. We can look back at how God has worked in our lives and trust that He will continue to provide for us in the future, in ways we might not expect.
For this very reason,
make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue,
virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control,
self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion,
devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love.
—2 Peter 1:5–7
Image: Iosif Evstafievich Krachkovsky, Autumn. At the vineyards of Zheltyshev / PD-US