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March 22: Friday of the Second Week of Lent

Reading Genesis 37:3-4,12-13,17-28
Gospel Matthew 21:33-43,45-46

“… the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.”

The person who lives within his emotions acts only according to those emotions. When a person’s emotions are the only norm of human behavior, any action is justifiable, even selling one’s own brother for twenty pieces of silver. Or thirty.

The Church, on the other hand, teaches us that as human beings we are created in the image and likeness of God, and that even though this image has been distorted by Original Sin, it is supposed to be at the center of the human soul, which is at the center of the human person.

The norm for Christian behavior is the Will of God, which we discern in our lives more clearly—most especially during the holy season of Lent—when we give ourselves to God in prayer, when we abandon our own will in penance, and when we give ourselves to others in charity. If the Will of God is to have an abiding presence within our human soul—in order to animate all of our thoughts, words, and actions—we must cultivate a place in our souls for the Holy Spirit to take root and bear fruit. We cannot take credit for these fruits; we do not claim them as our own. When God asks us to make a return to Him for all the good He has done for us, we do so immediately and humbly, recognizing that He is the harvest master, and we are his servants.

The landowner’s son in today’s Gospel passage is obviously a symbol of Christ, the Son of God rejected by those to whom he came, those who were his own. At the heart of Christ’s life was the Will of God. We need today to meditate upon the truth that we see and receive in Christ: that we exist because of the sheer love that God has for us, and that this love is expressed most perfectly in the sacrifice Christ offers us from the Cross.