Sunday, October 05, 2014
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Isaiah 5:1-7
2nd Reading: Philippians 4:6-9
Gospel: Matthew 21:33-43
Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people, “Listen to another example: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a fence around it, dug a hole for the winepress, built a watchtower, leased the vineyard to tenants and then went to a distant country. When harvest time came, the landowner sent his servants to the tenants to collect his share of the harvest. But the tenants seized his servants, beat one, killed another and stoned another.
“Again the owner sent more servants, but they were treated in the same way.
“Finally, he sent his son, thinking: ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they thought: ‘This is the one who is to inherit the vineyard. Let us kill him and his inheritance will be ours.’ So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
“Now, what will the owner of the vineyard do with the tenants when he comes?” They said to him, “He will bring those evil to an evil end, and lease the vineyard to others who will pay him in due time.”
And Jesus replied, “Have you never read what the Scriptures say? The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing; and we marvel at it. Therefore I say to you: the kingdom of heaven will be taken from you and given to a people who will yield a harvest.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
“If God exists and he created this world, why is this world bad?” This was the question of Anthony Pearson, an English atheist I met in the train on my way from France to Milan in 2005. I was groping for the most convincing answer then. In today’s Gospel reading I find the answer.
The Gospel parable today emphasizes that the landowner had already done everything to prepare his property for lease. He had a very detailed preparation. “He put a fence around it, dug a hole for the winepress, (and) built a watchtower”. These he did before leasing the property out to the tenants. Great was his trust for the tenants that he left peacefully to travel abroad after the turn over.
In this parable God is the landowner, the world is the vineyard and we are the lessees. Speaking through the nimble pen of the prophet Isaiah the Lord asks us in the First Reading of today’s Liturgy: “Now, inhabitants of Jerusalem and people of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. What more was there to do that I have not done for my vineyard?” If we are sincere our answer will be in the negative. There is nothing more that God could have done to make the world a place conducive for us to live a dignified life.
God has entrusted this kingdom to us after he made it sufficient for human beings to live decently as a people destined for heaven. But we are bad care takers. The way we take care of this kingdom reflects the depth of our love and respect for the God who created it.
Yes, Anthony Pearson, the world is bad. But it was not so in the beginning. The world turned bad because its stewards care so little. And you are one of the stewards! – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.frdan.org.
Prayer for the day: God our Father, grant us the grace to become good stewards of this world and so build you kingdom on earth. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
SAINT OF THE DAY: St. Flora, Virgin. Born in France in 1309, she joined the Hospitaller nuns of St. John of Jerusalem where she met many difficulties. She even fell into a depressed state, but with her trust in the Divine Master, she was able to overcome all the trials. She continued to receive mystical favors. At times blood would flow from her side or from her mouth for she would seem to be pierced by the arms of the Cross. She would also share prophetic knowledge of matters she did not know. She died in 1347.