Saturday, October 04, 2008

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time


May the peace of Christ reign in our hearts.

Images like wild grapes, vineyards, hedges, landowners etc.
are not part of our normal experience,
but the people who heard these parables understood them completely.

And it is important that we try to enter
into the symbolism and meaning of those words.

We need to ask ourselves what is God saying to us?

The vineyard… could it symbolize creation, could it be our world?
Could it be ancient Israel ?
Could it symbolize God’s chosen people with whom
God longed to have a special relationship?
It could be all of the above.

Grapes and wild grapes…
Could they be the fruit of our labors..
The work of our hands?
Not just what we produced with our work
But who we become.
The lives we live, the people we are?

I often get lost in the thought that I am the work of my hands.

The Land owner is God…
God who gives us everything we need,

The vineyard described in the parable is beautiful.
God who gives us a a wonderful world, a beautiful vineyard
a place which is capable of providing for us abundantly, richly.

Maybe We are the tenants…
The world does not belong to us
It is given to us in trust
It is given to us so that we can find our way back
to God.
It is given to us so that we can give back to God with
the work of our hands.
Like the tenants were supposed to give the landowner some of the fruit
of their labor.

The tenants also symbolizes the religious leaders of the time
They were given the care of the vineyard
they were given the care of God’s people.

God like the Landowner wants us to love him.
God like the landowner wants to enjoy the work of our hands.
God wants to be proud of us.
God wants to rejoice in our successes and pick us up when we fail.

He is so desperate for us to live as we should.
That he repeatedly sends
Servants or Prophets to encourage us and guide us on our journey
The patience and perseverance of God is astounding

Remember that powerful line
But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat,
another they killed, and a third they stoned.

The landowner does not give up the tenants…
Even when they are steeped in sin and violence
So desperate is the Landowner for the well-being of the tenants that
He sends his son his own flesh and blood to
guide his tenants home.


Moved by jealousy and anger and mostly greed they kill his son
only then are they dealt with.

As you can see this parable is intense.
Jesus spoke it to the religious leaders of his time
Because he loved them with all their sins ..
He held a mirror up in front of their faces
He showed them who they were
He didn’t sugar coat.

They had done horrible things
Motivated By greed and
a lust for power they
killed the prophet
They killed the Messiah

And a in the year 70 roughly 40 years after Jesus’ death
in a terrible war of destruction,
The Romans would destroy all that was dear to them.

But because the scriptures are the word of God
They not only speak to the people of his time…
they speak to us.
When we read the Scriptures they also call us
to look at ourselves in the mirror
To see who we are and what motivates us

Here are some questions for us the tenants of the vineyard.

Are we giving God his do?
Are we making God proud of us?
Are we producing and becoming the men and women God would have us be?
Are our grapes bountiful or wild?

Are we taking care of the vineyard?
Are we caring for it so future generations can enjoy it and benefit from it?
Are we sharing the vineyard’s, abundance fairly?
Do all of our brothers and sisters have the ability to share in its resources?

Are we arrogant do we think we know it all like the tenants?
Do we listen to the prophets and teachers that God
repeatedly sends us over and over and over again
Or do we persecute them or just a bad do we mock them
Marginalize them, ignore them make fun of them?

What is are our motivations in life?
What are our goals ?
What pushes us forward?
We are in a terrible economic crisis now
because lots of people many motivated by greed gambled
and lost lending people money they could not afford?

What place does greed have in our lives?
Do we live to acquire more and more and more prosperity
do we live to make a difference in peoples lives?

Are we working for ourselves like the tenants or are we
living the generous lives that God calls us to live ?
What motivates us?

What place does the Son of the Landowner have in our lives
The baptists and evangelicals often ask…
Have we accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior….

Good Question Have we?
Do we follow his teaching, his counsel, his law?
Or do we drive him from heart and tried to kill him
like the tenants drove the son from the vineyard.

This parable is as powerful today as it was when it was proclaimed
Over 2000 years ago.

Let us listen and learn.

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