My Grandfather grew grapes in his large yard behind his house. As the vines grew thick and tall, he made a sort of leafy gazebo there, which became a handy shelter from the warm summer sun and the surprising showers. Inside this gazebo my father’s eight brothers and sisters and their families gathered on most summer Sundays. As everyone feasted on my Grandmother’s mouth-watering homemade gnocchi, her luscious meatballs and scrumptious bracioli dinners, we listened to numerous stories in the gazebo, triggering intermittent laughter or sometimes joining together in boisterous melodies--sung of course, off key.
And almost on cue during these weekly get-togethers, my Grandfather sitting contently in the shade of his rustling grape leaves gave his usual “stump speech.” He would point to his vines and say “Quest’e mi vigna." As translated, “These are my vines.” And in the next breath, my Grandfather--pointing to us then said “Questa e mi vendemmia!” “But this is my harvest!” After which everyone cheered and clapped!
We all knew that my Grandfather loved his vineyard, but he wanted it known loud and clear that he loved us more--for we were his true vineyard and his real harvest. And believe me, none of us ever doubted this truth.
Yet despite all the love my Grandfather showed us over and over again, we know that God loves us more-even more than Grandpop. For God makes it clear over and over again, we are His chosen and His beloved.
And didn’t God make each of us to spend eternity with Him? And doesn’t God long for that special day when we finally enter heaven forever? Isn’t that why Jesus came, died, rose again and returned to heaven? Indeed, Jesus did all this so that God, like my Grandfather, can wait with a big smile for the day when he can give us a big hug of welcome.
God may even say “mi vendemmia-my harvest is here!” And looking at God’s smiling face, we can be absolutely certain that we have made God’s day- forever!