Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Justin, M. (01st June, 2020) on the Gospel and the Memorial
2Pt 1:2-7;
Ps 90:1-2.14-16. (R. cf. v.2);
Mk 12:1-12.
Saint Justin was born in Nablus in Samaria at the beginning of the second century. A philosopher and on his conversion to the faith wrote in defence of religion. His only works now extant are his two Apologies and his Dialogue addressed to Trypho. He opened a school in Rome and took part in public disputations. He suffered a martyr’s death with his companions during the time of Marcus Aurelius, about the year 165.
Topic: We are all tenants.
Jesus said to the people, “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a pit for the wine press, and built a watchtower; then he leased it to tenants and went to another country.” Looking at this parable, the owner of the vineyard put everything in order before leasing it out to the tenants. One would have expected them to be appreciative by playing according to the rules. However, all the servants the man sent to collect his own share of the produce were either beaten up or killed. Not even his son was spared.
The Psalmist rightly wrote, “The earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein” (Ps 24:1; cf. 1Cor 10:26). And the book of Job reads, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return...” (Job 1:21). Saint Paul in his first letter to Timothy also wrote, “for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world” (1Tim 6:7). He also asked, “What have you that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift?” (1Cor 4:7).
The people who heard this parable first were not aware that it was about them. In the same vein, many may be looking at this parable as a passage to show how bad the Jews were. Let us not forget that it was written for our instruction, cf. Rom 15:4; 1Cor 10:11. May we follow the example of Saint Justin who paid the ultimate price in defence of the gospel.
Based on these, we all are truly God’s tenants. How one sees and handles the things God left in his/her custody makes the difference – good or wicked tenant. And it is in each person’s hand to choose what he/she wants to be.
Bible Reading: Job 1:13-22.
Thought for today: What have you that you did not receive?
Let us pray: God help us both to understand that everything is yours and to handle them accordingly – Amen.
Saint Justin – Pray for us.
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