That’s how love should be handled. If we are given love, we should always give back love also. We have to be wary of our tendency to betray this fundamental law of our life, because instead of repaying the love we receive with love, we give back ingratitude, disloyalty, infidelity, if not hatred itself.
We are reminded of this aspect of our life in that parable Christ told his disciples about a landowner who planted a vineyard, putting a hedge around it and dug a wine press in it, built a tower, leased it to tenants, then went on a journey. (cfr. Mt 21,33-46) There we can see how good the landlord was in providing the tenants with a well-prepared field.
But as the parable unfolded, when vintage time came, the tenants refused to give what they owed to the landlord. Instead, they beat the servants sent by the landlord to collect the produce of the vineyard. They even killed the son of the landowner who was sent as the last resort to collect what was due to the landlord. Obviously, the landlord punished the tenants severely and leased the vineyard to more faithful tenants.
The parable is meant to expose that tendency of ours to be unfaithful and ungrateful to God in spite of all the good things he has given us. We should be most wary of this tendency and do something about it, being guarded against it and more, being generous and magnanimous in returning the good God has given us.
If we truly love or if there is love involved in any event, this is the dynamic that would take place. If we are given love, we also give back love, triggering what we may call as a virtuous cycle, the opposite of a vicious cycle. Love gets to grow more and more, since by its very nature, love actually knows no limits. It just gives and gives, even if great sacrifices are involved.
It’s important that we be always moved and driven by love. For this to take place, we should make an effort to always acknowledge all the good things God has given us—from our life itself to the many talents, gifts, fortune, privileges, favors, etc. we enjoy in life. Only in this way can we feel urged to be thankful, faithful and to enter into the natural dynamic of love where love is always repaid by love.
We have to be wary of our tendency to be swallowed up by the many powerful and attractive distractions we have nowadays, leading us along the ways of self-absorption, self-centeredness and self-indulgence.
As a matter of fact, we should declare an unrelenting war against our self-indulgence which has become a very formidable problem we all have. Yes, this has always been a problem to us, but these days it is much more so.
With the many new wonderful things that can instantly give us convenience, comfort, pleasure and satisfaction, many of us are trapped into the very sticky web of obsessions, addictions and the many other forms of self-indulgence that feed on our weaknesses, like lust, pride, conceit, gluttony, unhinged curiosities, envy, etc., etc.
We should never forget that what we enjoy in life should be always related to God. Otherwise, we would set ourselves in a position of danger. We should always feel thankful to God. Even in our moments of difficulties and human miseries, we still have reason to be thankful because God continues to be with us and to help us cope with them.*