Yesterday’s Gospel sees Jesus’ rebuke of religious leaders who have received the vineyard of Israel but have misused and abused that trust from God. This parable is a warning for those in positions of authority, whether large or small. Just as the owner tasks the tenants with caring for the vineyard, God tasks us with caring for and bringing forth the kingdom of God. God asks us to harvest the fruits of the vineyard that he has sent us all to work in.
Any person in a position of authority, large or small, is open to temptations of self-interested leadership compared to the interest of God. This parable teaches us how to lead in all that we do. We must lead through service. Authority and leadership are a service given to the Kingdom of God. Our leadership should reflect the kingdom of God’s care for the well-being of all and the dissemination of the good news of the Gospel.
As someone who has been a student or employee of a Jesuit school for the last 11 years, I’ve grown used to hearing the phrase, “Men and Women for Others.” We educate our students to reach for Fr. Arrupe’s goal and tell them it means a life of service. We encourage them to participate in the Labre homelessness outreach or Big Brothers and Big Sisters programs.
I was recently reminded that we often ask our students for better. We need to remind ourselves and our students that we are not asking them to be better for others, but to do better for others. Too often we place the emphasis on our students reaching some kind of “milestone” as people for others. Instead we should focus on their continued commitment to cultivating the vineyard, the kingdom of God. Our call to be men and women for others should be a service given to the kingdom of God, not simply another title given to our graduates.
- How can you be a “person for others”? How might you be called to cultivate the vineyard and bring about the kingdom of God?
Miles Tiemeyer is a graduate of Xavier University (2020), where he studied in the Philosophy, Politics, and the Public program along with majors in political science and history. During undergrad, he was involved in social justice and political advocacy through his work in the Dorothy Day Center for Faith and Justice. After graduating from Xavier, he served a year with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Houston, Texas at Cristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory School of Houston. Currently, Miles is resident minister and graduate assistant for John Carroll University Campus Ministry while studying for his masters in theology and religious studies.