In today’s First Reading Peter, in the introduction to his second letter, expresses the desire that every Christian receive peace and abundance through knowledge of the Lord. He also traces out how this will happen; it is a process of faith leading to virtue, knowledge, and love. Unlike the chief priests, scribes and elders, chastised by Our Lord through the Parable of the Vineyard in today’s Gospel, believers know that through this process they are transformed into something greater than they were before, but only through grace and effort. Through Baptism and a holy life a believer gradually shares more and more in divine life, and that divine life transforms him and introduces him into a world greater than he could have ever envisioned.
This process helps us to see beyond ourselves and our world to something greater, and to understand our place within the greater scheme of things. The tenants in today’s parable tried to turn a leasing arrangement into their world, and convinced themselves that they were its owners. Wine throughout the Bible symbolizes joy; the tenants were invited and expected to help that joy be cultivated and spread, but instead they focused on using it for their own profit. Instead of the path traced out by Peter today–“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”–their bad faith leads them down the path of ignorance, selfishness, and hate and, as a result, the little world they’d carved out for themselves would be taken away from them.
Our Lord has promised us a greater world, a greater life. Let’s ask him, in faith, to give us the knowledge and the grace we need to start this process that leads to beautiful promises being fulfilled for ourselves and for others.