Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Ancestral Healing

Then Jesus began to talk to them in parables, "A man once planted a vineyard," he said, "fenced it round, dug out the hole for the wine-press and built a watch-tower. Then he let it out to some farm-workers and went abroad. At the end of the season he sent a servant to the tenants to receive his share of the vintage. But they got hold of him, knocked him about and sent him off empty-handed. The owner tried again. He sent another servant to them, but this one they knocked on the head and generally insulted. Once again he sent them another servant, but him they murdered. He sent many others and some they beat up and some they murdered. He had one man left - his own son who was very dear to him. He sent him last of all to the tenants, saying to himself, 'They will surely respect my own son.' But they said to each other, 'This fellow is the future owner - come on, let's kill him, and the property will be ours!' So they got hold of him and murdered him, and threw his body out of the vineyard. What do you suppose the owner of the vineyard is going to do? He will come and destroy the men who were working his vineyards and will hand it over to others. Have you never read this scripture - 
The stone which the builders rejected, 
The same was made the head of the corner;
This was the Lord,
And it is marvelous in  our eyes?"
At this they longed to get their hands on him, for they knew perfectly well that he had aimed this parable at them - but they were afraid of the people. So they left him and went away. Mark 12:1-12

Jesus is up against religious leadership here and he is telling them this parable-story to let them know that he knows what they're up to. The parable begins, "A man planted a vineyard," which is to say, God gathered a people, Israel, who are uniquely his own. The story contains wonderful detail reflecting God's care:  the vineyard has a protective fence, an in-house wine-press and a watch-tower.

But God expected that in time this people would be fruitful in justice. Instead, the tenants (Israel) turned on God and abused the leaders God provided to secure them. And then the story becomes particularly sad, because the owner (God) not allowing his plan to be frustrated or utterly thwarted, sent servants - prophets - one after another to secure this fruit of justice. But prophets make people uncomfortable and are more often than not, likely to be exiled, abused, killed.

Jesus is saying to his religious listeners: "Murdering God's prophets is in your lineage." We all have a lineage. We all come from a long line of ancestors. We all have a family story that goes way back in time. Some of it we know about, other aspects are lost to time. This parable caused me to think that our own family-story needs to be healed. Some of the dis-ease or the historical wound influences how we are as family even to today. In every family-story there are accounts of:

child abuse
sex abuse
domestic violence
drug addiction
the bad spirit of ancestral:
racial prejudice,
negative complaint

Victorious Christ ~ San Damiano ~ Assisi

What is there to do? I'd suggest consciously bringing it to Mass, and at the consecration and elevation of the bread and wine say, "Jesus please, your mercy, heal my family." You see, the stretch of Jesus reaches not only into the four directions, north, south, east and west, but also into time - past, present and future. We can entrust every wound to Jesus' timeless, healing, self-gift. 


  1. Every family suffers with at least one or often several of these afflictions. It is a given. We can remember Jesus' parable here and pray for healing. Sometimes we don't realize how much it affects our lives.

    1. I think that's right - we often don't realize how much our lives have been affected by the ancestral dis-ease. Let us bring it to Mass.

  2. Thank you for explaining the parables to us in a way that makes sense. I get a better understanding as to what Jesus was trying to say. Otherwise it seems like a riddle to me. Now I see the whole point of the story.

  3. "Now I see..." Spiritual words. Blessed Sunday to you.

  4. We not only take for granted the gifts that God gives to us, but we abuse them. It is as if we have turned our backs to his grace. I will take your advice here and bring it to Mass the next time I go. Will make it a point.