Jesus’ parable about the tenants of the vineyard who stone the servants of the landowner and eventually kill his son always makes me a little anxious. I naturally put myself in the place of the wrongdoers and ask myself if I, too, would reject the cornerstone. I feel similarly about the reading from Isaiah, which tells us of a vineyard that, despite careful cultivation, produces only wild grapes. And so, again, I worry. Am I using my gifts wisely? Am I doing everything I can to help my children love and know the Lord? Will my efforts end in wild grapes?
But then, sandwiched in between these two readings, there is Paul’s Letter to the Philippians. In the first line, St. Paul tells us to “have no anxiety at all.” And I relax.
Mother Church, in her great wisdom, gives us this beautiful triad of readings to juxtapose the Lord’s desire for us to be good stewards of our gifts along with his desire for us to rest in him. Most moms I know, especially those with children not yet grown, especially if you took your kids to Mass today and didn’t actually get to listen to the readings, need to hear St. Paul’s message again:
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you (Phil 4:6-9).
Today, sisters, let us forgive ourselves for the mistakes we make raising our kids, forgive ourselves when we fail to reach our own expectations. Today, let us have no anxiety at all. Let us rest in the promise of Christ and keep on doing what we have learned and received and heard and seen in him.