Oct. 08, 2017 - 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
The landowner in Jesus’ parable does everything he possibly can to make the vineyard successful.
He equips the vineyard by planting the vines and building the wine press. He protects the vineyard by building the hedge wall and constructing the watch tower.
He tends the vineyard by hiring tenant farmers to work the land, to prune the vines, to gather the harvest and to press the grapes.
All he wants is a share of the crop. He is entitled to a share, isn’t he/ After all, it is his vineyard. And the initial investment needs to be recouped.
The tenants are either already bad people or they become bad people. The tenants want what is not theirs. They are greedy. They are disrespectful.
They begin as thieves and end as cold blooded murderers.
It is a disturbing story because they end up killing the owner’s son so that they can take the vineyard. But that doesn’t happen.
The vineyard is taken away from them. And they are all put to death. The vineyard is given to those who will be loyal, to those who will be faithful.
Jesus’ warning is clear. If we become like the bad tenants, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from us and given to others who will produce its fruit.
Are we becoming a nation of unruly tenants, ungrateful, self-absorbed thieves who take and take and take and do not give?
It does seem that many in our nation are slowly becoming more and more like these violent unruly tenants. There is an unease in our nation, racial tensions, economic insecurity, mass shootings.
It is my opinion that many of these signs of unrest are the result of a nation that has turned its back on God.
But there are also signs of goodness, signs of heroism, signs of great courage and bravery and loyalty and fidelity and generosity.
There may be countless examples of violence, but there are also countless examples of people going beyond themselves to help others in need, heroes doing what is good just because.
For example, even with all our own needs, the people of Saint Martin de Tours gave twelve thousand dollars to help strangers who were affected by the disastrous hurricanes this season.
In that act of kindness, we have done what Saint Paul says to do. Saint Paul tells us to be true, to be just, to be lovely, to be honorable, to be pure, to be gracious.
Let us resolve, here and now, to continue to be good tenants of God’s vineyard. Let us accept the challenge to be self-giving, to do what is good and right and just, because the Kingdom of God belongs to those who produce its fruit.