Today’s readings can be found at:
Ephesians is considered to have actually been written by a colleague or follower of Paul’s because it lacks the personal or familiar quality one would expect him to have with the people he knew in Ephesus. Although referred to as the letter to the Ephesians, you’ll notice that it lacks things you would normally find in a letter–news, personal message, intimacy.
A second note with regards to the Gospel: Divine Retribution was a key idea amongst the people of Jesus’ time. Meaning…the rich have been blessed by God and their fortune is a sign for us to heed their holiness. Jesus turned this idea upside down.
These two aspects come into play in today’s Gospel. The notion of grace is center-stage in Paul’s (or whoever wrote it) letter to the Ephesians. It is not through works alone that we are saved (another central idea of the time), but rather because God chose to love us…a free gift of God dwelling amongst us, being part of us, dying for us, and then rising to new life so that we might one day do the same.
Jesus couples this idea by berating the farmer who saves up his harvest. The message seems to be “seize the day” for who knows what tomorrow may bring? But deeper is the meaning of this text.
God’s love cannot be harvested or saved up. It is simply always being used and given and will never run out. The bountiful harvest is a symbol for the love that God has for His people–a love that is overflowing and never runs out.
How does that knowledge of God’s overflowing love change us–or does it?
Do we feel the love of God and horde it for ourselves, patting ourselves on the back because we believe and often feel the love of God in our lives tangibly? Or does this love empower us to love in return…to love without limit, without stopping to make sure that we have enough love to give. Yes, the harvest is generous indeed…but are we generous enough to stop counting the cost of our own love? Or do we choose who to love and who to hate?
All the parables are inevitably about God’s kingdom. Here the kingdom of God is indeed the plentiful harvest. The resources that never run out–so indeed there is no reason for hording but rather we are encouraged to share that harvest with each other, knowing that in that sharing we are becoming more and more like the God who has led us to till the fields of our own heart in hopes that our harvest will be shared in full.