By Lucy Johnson
As students head back to school this fall, those who are attending virtual or remote seem to miss seeing their classmates in-person most of all. Classmates are special. The Gospel reinforces for me that Jesus and I are classmates (separated by 2000 or so years). It also reminds us that the readings and lessons are timeless.
All of today’s readings contain great riches, and Jesus demonstrates how to apply them to our lives. In the Gospel reading, He tells a parable about a vineyard and a (watch) tower. Such imagery is also found in the first reading from Isaiah. Jesus was aware that his audience would be familiar with that passage as they learned it as youths. He modifies the Old Testament story by adding personal references such as the vineyard owner’s son.
Caretakers of the Vineyard
As lifelong students, Bible commentaries, WINE Blogs, and other resources help us understand the Good News. The Workbook for Lectors suggests that this parable warns all of the baptized of our role as caretakers tending God’s people.
In the Responsorial Psalm, which connects the readings, we pray that the vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel. We share in the responsibility of tending the vineyard and living out our call. This responsibility can sometimes cause us anxiety, especially when making decisions or forming the next generation.
Have No Anxiety
Paul tells us in the second reading to have no anxiety—easier said than done. Paul continues but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your request known to God. This summer, I was overwhelmed and very anxious about planning a wedding during the pandemic.
As I was preparing for my weekly adoration hour, I read a brief reflection from St. John Vianney’s catechism on prayer. His message was that you wouldn’t go to a friend’s house without a purpose, so bring your conversations and problems to Jesus in adoration. That day I thought, “I’m going to take St. John Vianney’s advice”.
At the beginning of the hour, I laid out all the problems I was having, starting with the most pressing (which was finding an available and inexpensive photographer since the event was in 2 weeks) and including even the smallest details. Then I just prayed (ok, I might have said, “take that! What are You going to do?”).
As I left the chapel, one of the first persons that I met offered to take pictures at the wedding for free. Seriously? Oh, me of little faith. I have so much more to learn. I need to lean on my classmates for help.
About the author:
Lucy Johnson lives in St. Paul, MN with her husband, Jeff. She has 7 children and 9 grandchildren. She is a pharmacist at Children’s Hospital and past-president of the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women. (ACCW 2013-2015). Her love of travel has taken her to 5 continents including Africa and Australia. A “Martha” working on her “Mary”, she walked the Camino in 2018.