Now the vineyard that is spoken of in today’s first reading is God’s chosen people, the Israelites. God had chosen this people to be the first fruits of His salvation. Yet, they continued to defy God’s laws.
Now, in today’s Gospel we hear of a similar story. In fact this parable is rooted in the image that we heard from today’s first reading from the prophet Isaiah. In today’s Gospel, Our Lord also speaks of a vine grower who plants a vineyard, puts a hedge around it to protect it, digs a wine press in it, builds a tower and then leases it to tenants while He goes on a journey until harvest.
My brothers and sisters, today’s readings for this 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time calls us to be responsible with the gift of faith that has been handed down to us! God called the Israelites out of slavery and gave them the law and the commandments so that they would be a people set apart. He called them to bear the fruits of holiness. He told them not to intermingle with the other nations because they would be influenced by their iniquity and their worship of false gods.
Yet, in His mercy, God did not give up on His chosen people! He sent them His Son. But they did not listen to Him! In fact, they killed Him by hanging Him on a cross!
My brothers and sisters, Our Lord Jesus is the last in a long line of prophets sent by God, and He is calling us to bear fruit of holiness. He is calling us to be faithful tenants of our Church.
Notice in today’s Gospel that our Lord is addressing the chief priests and the elders of the people who were the religious leaders of the time. So our Lord is saying to them specifically that it was their responsibility to hand down the teachings of the faith given to them through the prophets.
Yet, we are also reminded that we do not own our faith. We don’t own the Church! We don’t own the world. We do not even own our own bodies! We don’t own anything! We are simply tenants. Everything we have in this world has been loaned to us to care for. Everything we have is a gift from God!
We cannot be workers of the vineyard unless we first recognize that we are not in charge of the vineyard. God is in charge! We don’t make up the rules, because God has already given us the rules! He has done this through the prophets, the commandments, the Gospel, and through the laws of human nature!
|The Father prunes those He loves|
Finally, we may notice that although the message of today’s first reading and today’s Gospel passage are similar, there is a critical difference in the ending. In the passage from Isaiah when God is disappointed with the sour grapes, He destroys the vineyard. The hedge is taken away and given to grazing. The wall is broken through and trampled, and it is made a place of ruin. In the message from today’s Gospel, however, it is not simply the vineyard, but the tenants who are destroyed.
My brothers and sisters, our Lord is coming again, and holiness is the fruit that he expects from each one of us. We have been called to work in His vineyard for the salvation of souls. Let us be responsible tenants of the vineyard of our Lord until He comes again. For the kingdom of God will not be given to irresponsible tenants. It will be given to those who strive to produce the fruit of eternal life.