Posted on October 08, 2017 08:54

I recently read something that made me think. It was this – “There’s no exception to the rule that states everyone expects to be the exception to the rule!”

There is probably a lot of truth to that statement. We criticize someone driving in front of us but never would expect the person behind us to be upset with us because we would be the exception to that rule. We stand aghast at someone cheating or lying and yet we’re the exception with just a ‘little white lie!’ Or we see the barbaric violence like Las Vegas and yet allow ourselves to be the exception with our own violent words, untruths or speaking about a situation without the entire picture.

There’s no exception to the rule that states everyone expects to be the exception to the rule.

Our gospel today is vicious and cruel. An owner plans a vineyard, puts a hedge around it, digs out a wine press and builds a tower. Then he leases it to tenants. He then sends his servants at vintage time to obtain his produce. Twice he sends his servants to the tenants and they kill them and stone a third. Finally, he even sends his son and him, too, they kill.

Did the tenants think they were the exception to the rule and that they would still get the inheritance after killing all those sent by the owner? Did the landowner think he and his son were the exception to the rule and that the tenants would not kill his own son after annihilating the others? It is a parable of a real spiral of violence and we have to wrestle with it to see if God is speaking to us who all too often believe there’s no exception to the rule that states everyone expects to be the exception to the rule.

Perhaps we have to ask ourselves what are the vineyards of our day. Our relationships, marriage, friendships, casual, work, neighborhood, the world, etc are all vineyards. Even though the parable is peaceful in the beginning violence erupts. We see violence and hatred in the vineyard of the world (maybe more than ever before). We observe hatred for this group, that group, we label everyone - and the labels we put on others are always labels we would not put on ourselves. We see hatred but is it everyone else who carries biases, prejudice and we say there’s no exception to the rule that states everyone expects to be the exception to the rule.

There is the vineyard of our work – people who do things differently than the way I would do them – friction begins, verbal insults, on and on. We say we’re not a violent person but then we realize there’s no exception to the rule that states everyone expects to be the exception to the rule.

In the end we are all connected. However, that connectedness comes about when we realize we might be living by the rule that states there’s no exception to the rule that states everyone expects to be the exception to the rule. It is a broken world in need of God’s healing, mercy, love and forgiveness. It is a world with division and in desperate need of reconciliation. And we can be that person of healing – as long as we realize there’s no exception to the rule that states everyone expects to be the exception to the rule.

Fr. Bob Kraig (Published on St. John Neumann Facebook Page)

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