FRIDAY 6 MARCH 2015
Matthew 21 : 33 – 46
God, The owner, has planted a vineyard, that is our beautiful South Africa. God had surrounded our country with seas, has put a marvelous sky over it and land boundaries to define it. God has filled our country with mountains, rivers, valleys, hills, fields, grass lands, deserts, parks, forests, flowers, precious minerals, wild and domestic animals, birds and fish. The owner has entrusted this land to us, the tenants, to nurture it and develop it.
But as we look at it we see it ravaged by underground and open cast mines, tossic and dusty mine dumps, piles of rubbish, air pollution, acid water, dirty rivers and dams and soil erosion. In our history we have despised, persecuted and murdered each other. Many of our people who struggled for justice and freedom during apartheid were detained, tortured and killed.
When finally we achieved the longed yearned freedom in 1994, we continued and continue to maltreat this land of ours and its people. We still experience destruction of the environment, great wealth and object misery, hunger, children leaving school prematurely, unemployment, violence, rapes, killings, drugs and alcohol addiction, lack of basic services, destructive service delivery demonstrations and strikes, xenophobic attach, corruption, lying, stealing and moral depravity of all kinds. People of different political parties or factions within the same party kill each other in their hunger for power and wealth. Honest people are sidelined and morally or physically eliminated.
We may dispair at all these evils and ask ourselves: “We, the tenants, do we deserve this land? Jesus today’s Gospel saying comes as a warning: “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will deliver the produce to him at the proper time.”
We Christian look at this hopeless situation with eyes of faith. We discover that among all these tenants there are still many good and faithful ones: wives and husbands, fathers and mothers, women and men, young and old, lay people, religious, pastors, priests and bishops, who humbly serve one another and others, who strive for the betterment of families, schools, hospitals, businesses, communities, churches and society as a whole. They patiently and persistently work for justice, peace, human dignity; they respect, nurture and develop our environment and the life of all, especially of the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society. At times they are appreciated, other times they are misunderstood or even persecuted. But they never give up.
These are “The stone which the builders rejected, the have become the cornerstones of the future of this land. This is the Lord’s doing and we marvel at it.” We thank God for them and because of them we look with hope to the future of South Africa.
During this Lenten season dispose of rubbish in a proper way. Clean up rubbish you find in your neighborhood or wherever you are.
Avoid making disparaging remarks about people of other races, cultures, languages and social status.
Support your community and parish initiatives that aim at nurturing the environment and promote reconciliation, justice and peace.
Help one unemployed person find work. Supply food to a poor person or family.
O Lord, give us, South Africans, the gift of being your good tenants in this beautiful country of ours. Help us to be committed keepers and developers of our rich land and of all its peoples.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
+Bishop Guiseppe (Joe) Sandri MCCJ
Diocese of Witbank