2 Peter 1:2-7
May grace and peace be yours in abundance in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature. For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love.
Psalm 91:1-2, 14-16
You who live in the shelter of the Most High,
who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress;
my God, in whom I trust.”
Those who love me, I will deliver;
I will protect those who know my name.
When they call to me, I will answer them;
I will be with them in trouble,
I will rescue them and honor them.
With long life I will satisfy them,
and show them my salvation.
Then he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a pit for the wine press, and built a watchtower; then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants to collect from them his share of the produce of the vineyard. But they seized him, and beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. And again he sent another slave to them; this one they beat over the head and insulted. Then he sent another, and that one they killed. And so it was with many others; some they beat, and others they killed. He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this scripture:
‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is amazing in our eyes’?”
When they realized that he had told this parable against them, they wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowd. So they left him and went away.
In the parable of the vineyard, we recognize that what we have been given has been given by God and has its innate purpose for Him. Our job is to work for the owner of the vineyard and the owner only asks for his portion of the proceeds.
Our lives are lived in faith and in the reading in 2 Peter, there is a detailed progression where faith turns into love. We are asked to put in ‘every effort’, like the tenants in God's field with God's tools. We have faith meaning that we believe for something and while we await it, we can be confident if it is sown in goodness. Goodness requires knowledge of God. Knowledge of God secures us in hope but we must contain it within the virtue of self-control. Self-control is exercised continually toward endurance. Endurance tests us in our trust in God and makes us grow in godliness. Godliness always carries affection which increases mercy and giving in our hearts. This Godly affection grows into love as we are willing to imitate God in self-sacrifice for the sake of others and for his glory. We are willing and able to perform spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
We have just celebrated the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ; the Sacrament in which we partake of the Divine nature. Today we are told that it is Divinity that we need for life and goodness and a means to escape corruption in this life. Unlike the tenants who refused to give the owner his due, we understand that we are given what we need to serve God: divine grace. With God’s help, we can walk in faith and virtue to work to become more holy and godly, not merely to obtain things for ourselves.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, may I be strengthened in your Divine nature to witness to your presence in the world. May I accept the discipline of goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness and love, so that I may reflect your glory and my actions will convict others to glorify you and serve you. Amen