”After all I’ve done for you; cooking, cleaning, ironing, collecting you and dropping you off, giving you money!” And yet nothing! No card. No thank you. No “I really appreciate it.” No recognition. No acknowledgement of anything. Nothing! What did I do wrong? Where did I go wrong? Why doesn’t it mean anything to them? How can they be so immune to my care?
Isaiah in our first reading wants to grab the people’s attention. They’ve stopped listening to him. They just ignore him and walk on by. So, he talks about a vineyard, a love poem about a friend whose love is unrequited. All his care, nurturing and attentiveness didn’t work. Isaiah asks his audience what else could his friend have done.
Isaiah has been stringing his audience along. The vineyard, theologically, stands for Israel. Isaiah’s punchline involves a double paranomasia (words causing confusion; having similar sounds but different meanings). Mishpat is the Hebrew word for “Justice” (the exercise of authority). Mishpah; is a made-up word by Isaiah for “bloodshed”. But people could guess what he meant. Similarly, tsedaqah means “integrity”. tse’aqah means “a cry of distress“ from people who are suffering. These made-up words underline the contrast between what God hopes for and what actually happened.
Are we properly looking after the world, the creation, that God has given us? Are we treating the environment with respect? Are we welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked, visiting the sick? Are we thanking God for all that He has given us?
Let us never stop caring for God’s creation. Let today be that moment, that time, when we listen to Isaiah’s message and give thanks for all that we have been given and ensure that we are a people who care, are just, bring peace and always respond to the cries of those in distress.