October 05, 2014 - 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Imagine how you would feel if you were the vineyard owner?
You had done your research, bought just the right tract of land, prepared the soil, planted the best vines and purchased all the right equipment.
You had done everything you could to help the tenants produce a rich harvest.
And so you say to yourself, “What more is there for me to do that I have not already done to make my vineyard rich and fertile?”
Now how would you feel to be treated the way the tenants treat the vineyard owner in Jesus’ parable?
Your response might be similar to the response the religious leaders give to Jesus, “He will put those wretched tenants to a wretched death.”
Notice, if you will, that this is not Jesus’ answer. Jesus says simply: the kingdom will be taken away and given to those who will produce fruit.
We see the same thing in Isaiah’s song. The vineyard is abandoned, left to be overgrown.
This happens because the tenants, God’s chosen ones, have turned from God. It is painful to read about the abandoned vineyard left to grow wild.
Because they have turned from God’s help, the rascally tenants are left to their own devices. It is they who have turned from the Lord. And because of this, they will see the vineyard whither and fade.
God is the vineyard owner. And all of God’s creation is the vineyard.
God wants his beloved children to enjoy a rich harvest. And he has gone to great lengths to do everything he can to help make this possible.
But our God has also given us free will and allows us to go where we wish and to do as we please. In his great love for us, God has given us freedom of choice.
And God loves us so much that he honors our freedom to choose good or evil. He does all he can to help us choose good, but we are free to turn away, to ignore, to rebel.
That choice to turn away, to ignore and to rebel comes with consequences. Because we have turned away from God’s divine assistance and protection, we see the vines wither, unable to bear fruit.
But when we return to God, we are given the divine assistance of the Master Vineyard Owner who does all he can to help his children produce a rich harvest.
True humility is recognizing that creation is God’s and that God calls us to take care of it and to use its resources wisely.
When we do this we show great respect for God’s creation. In showing respect for God’s creation we also learn to show respect to all God’s children.
On this Respect Life Sunday, we are reminded that each and every human life is crafted in the image and likeness of God, and that our brothers and sisters are co-workers with us in God’s vineyard.
Each and every one of us is a masterpiece, special and unique; each and every one of us is deserving of the utmost reverence and respect.
How would you feel if you were the vineyard owner whose tenants did not produce a rich harvest?
Fortunately God’s ways are not our ways. God continues to prepare the vineyard so that his children have abundant opportunity to produce a rich harvest.