27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Oct 8, 2023: Is 5:1-7; Phil 4:6-9; Mt 21:33-43.
“…As laborers in God’s vineyard, do these things, and the peace of God will be with you…”
Introduction: The common theme of today’s readings is the necessity of bearing fruit in the Christian life. In short, they admonish us about the punishment for spiritual sterility, ingratitude, and wickedness.
Hence, in today’s first reading, the prophet Isaiah describes how God’s Chosen People, Israel, failed to bear fruit, despite the blessings lavished upon them by this loving caring and forgiving God. Further, they were poor tenants in the Lord's vineyard. Hence, God laments: "I expected My vineyard to yield good grapes. Why did it yield sour ones instead?"
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells an allegorical parable in which the landowner is God, the vineyard is Israel as God’s special people, and the tenants are the political and religious leaders of Israel. The story emphasizes the failure of the tenants, the Chosen People of God and their leaders, to produce fruits of righteousness, justice, and mercy.
Giving a theological explanation of Israel’s history of gross ingratitude through the parable, Jesus reminds us Christians that, since we are the "new" Israel, enriched with additional blessings and provisions in the Church, we are expected to show our gratitude to God by bearing fruits of the kingdom, fruits of the Holy Spirit, in our lives, giving Him all the Glory.
Life Message: What responsibilities have you been entrusted with? Are you a parent caring for your children? Are you an adult child, caring for your aging parents? Are you an older sibling with the responsibility to be a good role model for your younger siblings? Jesus is calling you today that, “I have chosen you from the world to go and bear fruit that will remain” (John 15:16).
Conclusion: Therefore, beloved, this parable speaks to us today as well. It richly conveys some important truths about God and the way he deals with his people. First, it tells us of God's generosity and trust. The vineyard is well equipped with everything the tenants need. The owner went away and left the vineyard in the hands of the tenants. God, likewise, trusts us enough to give us freedom to run life as we choose. This parable also tells us of God's patience and justice. Not once, but many times he forgives the tenants their debts. But while the tenants take advantage of the owner's patience, his judgment and justice prevail in the end. Consequently, by virtue of our baptism, having been washed clean and grafted to the body of Christ, we have been called to be laborers in God’s vineyard.
Hence let’s heed the counsel of St. Paul (2nd.Reading): “Finally, bothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things…Then the God of peace will be with you.”