Friday of the Second Week of Lent – 18 March – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – Genesis 37:6-22, Matthew 21:33-46
“In my distress I called to the Lord and He answered me.” – Psalm 119:1
“Therefore, I say to you,
the Kingdom of God
will be taken away from you
and be given to a people
that will produce its fruit.”
“GOD PLANTED THE VINEYARD of the human race when, at the first, He formed Adam (Gn 2:7) and chose the fathers. Then He let it out to husbandmen, through the gift of the Law, passed onto Moses. He hedged it round about, that is, He marked out the land they were to cultivate; He built a tower, that is, He chose Jerusalem; He dug a winepress, that is, He prepared those who were to receive the prophetic Spirit. And, He sent them prophets prior to the Babylonian exile and then, after the exile, others again, in even greater number, to seek the fruits, saying to them :- “Cleanse your ways and your doings” (Jer 7:3); “Execute just judgement ” and “Each one act with pity and compassion towards his brother. Do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the stranger or the poor, and let none of you treasure up evil against his brother in your hearts” (Zac 7:9-10) “Wash, make yourselves clean, put away evil from your hearts; learn to do good, seek judgement, protect the oppressed” (Is 1:16-17).
SEE BY WHAT PREACHINGS the prophets sought the fruits of righteousness. But last of all, He sent to those unbelievers, His own Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, Whom those wicked husbandmen slew and cast out of the vineyard.
THAT IS WHY GOD entrusted it – no longer hedged around but thrown open throughout all the world – to other husbandmen, who would render the fruits in due season. The elect tower is raised everywhere in all its beauty, for everywhere the Church now shines and everywhere the winepress is dug because everywhere, are they, who receive the Spirit of God.
AND THAT IS WHY THE LORD SAID to His disciples, to make us become good workmen: – “Take heed to yourselves and watch at all times lest your hearts be overcharged with debauchery, drunkenness and the cares of this life” (Lk 21:34.36). “Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning and be like those who wait for their master to come” (Lk 12:35-36).” … St Irenaeus (c 130-c 202) Bishop, Martyr , Father of the Church (Against the heresies, IV 36, 2-3).