PRAYER FOR THE WEEK
Jesus, teach me to avoid the few people I meet who are always mean, and spend more time with the nice ones! Amen.
Jesus said, "A man rented out his vineyard. At harvest time, he sent servants for the crops, but the renters killed them. So the man sent his son, thinking, 'They'll respect him.' But the renters killed the son." The listeners said, "The man will get rid of those renters and get new ones." Jesus told them, "In the same way, the people who go to God's kingdom will be those who grow its fruit."
Most people have good hearts. If they act hurtful sometimes, it's because they're having a bad day. When you say they hurt your feelings, they'll apologize and act differently.
There are a few people, though, who just keep being hurtful. They were probably hurt so much themselves that they lash out at others. They have forgotten there are better ways to act, or they don't care anymore.
When someone hurts you over and over again, Jesus did not ask that you keep going back for more. This week's Gospel (Mt 21:33-43) shows that.
In the Gospel story, Jesus talks about a vineyard owner, someone who grows grapes. The man has terrible renters. They want to keep the profits for themselves, so they kill anyone who tries to take the grapes away to sell them -- even the vineyard owner's son.
These are not people who can be reasoned with. They're not going to suddenly apologize and become good. As Jesus' listeners say, they'll be tossed out and the vineyard rented to good people.
It's OK for you to stay away from really hurtful people. Jesus doesn't expect you to hang out with someone who's always mean! He even said people like that won't go to "God's kingdom" -- heaven.
Jesus said the people who get to heaven are the ones who "grow its fruit." He meant that good people encourage goodness in others. Treating each other well helps everyone grow.
There's plenty of room in the vineyard of life. Stay away from people who aren't helping others to grow and be happy!