May the Lord give you peace in the Holy Spirit. It is on 8th October 2023.
We celebrate the Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time. We reflect on Isaiah 5:1-7; Philippians 4:6-9; and Matthew 21:33-43.
In the first reading, we reflect the Isaiah’s Song of the Vineyard. God planted a vineyard in which God wants to have fruits but God has only thorns, thistles, and sour grapes so God vows to destroy it and entrust it to some other tenants who would be able to be fruitful.
God is disappointed and pained because of the lack of response from Israel. God laments that what more could He have done to make the vineyard fruitful. Indeed, God has done more than we could ask for, so why then we refuse to be fruitful?
We are the vineyard of the Lord which failed to produce the fruits that the Lord is looking for in our vineyard. The time has come in our lives to look at the conditions and the lack of response in us and consider being fruitful.
A serious warning is served by the Lord for prolonged spiritual impotency, ingratitude, and irresponsive living.
The responsorial Psalm acclaims, “The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.” (Is.5:7).
In the second reading, St. Paul urges us to enjoy the peace of the Lord at all times and let go of our anger, personal hurt, and grudges we hold against one another.
To enjoy the peace of God, we need to offer our prayers in gratitude. By being thankful constantly and consistently, one becomes fruitful.
We read one of the Parables of the Judgement in the Gospel. It brings out the relationship between the tenant and landlord. The chosen were rejected because they did not honor what was agreed between God and themselves.
The bitter grapes of immorality, injustice, ingratitude, disloyalty, and disobedience are the outcome of the person who abuses the benefits of the vineyard.
Greed and ingratitude murder mercy and charity.
The Church is a vineyard of the Lord:
God is infinitely good, patient, and merciful in dealing with us as opposed to growing ingratitude and colossal abuse of the vineyard. God requires our cooperation in bringing the best. The kingdom of God is being neglected by us. It belongs to God. Who is messing it up? God wants to tell us that since the chosen ones did not take care of it, we are the new chosen ones. Paul tells the Galatians, “Love, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are the fruits needed for growth and development.
Who is messing with the vineyard of God? Isaiah and Jesus ask that what is God to do? The violence and greed are manifested in injustice as the wild/sour grape. God is interested in people who wish to hear: John 15:5 “I am the vine and you are the branches. Abide in me and you will bear much fruit.” A Church and a family of God cannot remain indifferent without working for social and economic justice. When the vineyard of a poor person was encroached in the story of Jezebel and King Ahab, people did not stand up for the poor man. Pope Francis said back in March that God is not judging us, but rather inviting us to judge what is important to us.
Our family as a vineyard:
A family that prays together thinks and bears fruit together. Some are exhausted physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We begin to say things that are painful to each other more than ever.
Planting vineyards is creating a relationship. It is a long-term investment and labor. At least three years for a vineyard to give fruit. Justice and fruitful life are the ones God expects from us all. To be fair with the community, family, and one another. God goes out to the fullest to make the people of God to be fruitful. People bore thorns and wild grapes.
God Cultivated, plowed, cared for, protected, and preserved yet the fruit was desireless. God is interested in long-term relationships. God trusts each one of us and expects us to be fruitful. God creates the possibility for the fruitfulness.
The innumerable opportunities and resources God has given us to bring the best out of ourselves. Having done everything possible for each one of us, God anticipates a rich harvest. God expresses his anger and hurt when we have failed to offer compassion and mercy.
We are the Vineyards today:
Paul recommends a set of Christian virtues that need to be practiced personally as whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and gracious and anything worthy of praise that pleases God. “Beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Phil.4:8).
Are we the poor tenants too? We are called to produce fruits. Have we disappointed God in any way? Refusal to change. They are self-confident, corrupt, luxurious living. The only person who wants to change is a baby with a dirty napkin. The elders and chief priests during the time of Jesus Failed to learn. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
Let us not delay any more being fruitful. We need to learn to be grateful and fruitful just because the Lord has done His part. May you have a good day.