Twenty-Seventh Sunday In Ordinary Time Year A
October 04, 2020 – 10:30 AM
Saint Cecilia Catholic Community
Deacon Sharon Kay Talley
Isaiah 5:1-7 | Psalm 80:9;13-16;19-20
Philippians 4:6-9 | Matthew 21:33-4
+In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, AMEN.
Today we have another of Jesus’ parables about God’s vineyard, the one about the Wicked Tenants. But this one is the saddest one of all. Keep in mind that when we talk about God’s vineyard, we hear Jesus telling us, “I am the vine and you are the branches. Grow fruit!”
In the first vineyard parable three weeks ago, the owner of the vineyard paid all the workers the same wage, regardless of how long they worked. The jealous ones felt they should have received more since they began earlier in the day. Jesus wanted to show us that life is not fair; life is meant to be good!
In the second vineyard parable last week, the father asked his sons to go work in the vineyard. The first one refused to go, but then later, he decided to go. The second son said he would go but did not.
In God’s vineyard, He wants us all to be happy and grateful and give thanks!
Our message for today’s readings is to choose to follow God rather than rejecting Him when things go astray. Bad actions on our part will bring bad results in our life because our life reflects the way we live. If we live dishonestly or lustfully, it will destroy our relationships.
God gave us all free will, so choose God and love over money, power, fame, lust, selfishness or envy.
In today’s first reading from Isaiah, God is presented as a diligent vineyard keeper who is disappointed with his crop. The vineyard is a metaphor for God’s people. God feels the pain of the human condition and is frustrated with the way the world has gone.
In our second reading from Philippians, Paul is writing while under house arrest. He is telling us to trust in God with prayer and thanksgiving in order to overcome any problems in our lives.
In today’s Gospel parable from Matthew, Jesus is telling this story to parallel the Palm Sunday when He was at the temple and all His enemies had gathered to try to destroy Him.
These people were the leaders, not just ordinary citizens. They felt everything belonged to them, not God.
So the landowner, God, sent the prophets to try to save them and bring them back to God. When that didn’t work, God sent His Son to try to save them and bring them back. But they seized Him and killed Him.
In response to the verse, “What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?”
The people answered:
“He will put those wretched men to a wretched death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper times.”
To this Jesus replied:
“Did you never read the Scriptures?” “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done and it is wonderful in our eyes.”
To some scholars, a cornerstone is a new group of people with a commitment to remember the past destruction of the temple and all the awful things that happened.
A cornerstone is symbolic of Christ, who is referred to as the Chief Cornerstone of the Church in Ephesians. The stone rejected by the builders was chosen by God, the chief builder, to be the capstone. Peter points out that Jesus was rejected and crucified by His own people.
God’s vineyard is for everyone in the world: Jews, Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Hindus, and non-believers. Everyone is called to carry out Jesus’ vision of a world at peace where caring for one another and happiness prevail.
This parable teaches us about God’s goodness and patience. In this parable, the landowner is God and the tenants are the priests and elders of the Jewish people. Since the majority of the Jewish people did not realize over 2000 years ago that the long-awaited Messiah came from among their own people and due to this disbelief of the Jews, God leased His vineyard to new tenants, known as the Gentiles.
But this parable can also be interpreted to reference the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church, who has not changed its mission for centuries, although the world has changed vastly. Within the numerous Independent Catholic Churches, such as St. Cecilia’s, women and people of all genders or sexual orientations are recognized as equals and everyone is welcome at Communion.
When Jesus tells this parable, His purpose is to tell the religious leaders that God placed them over Israel, but they were evil and they mistreated the prophets sent by God. Jesus predicts His own death at the hands of the religious leaders.
The priests of the Sanhedrin felt that this parable was directed against them, that they were the “wicked tenants” or husbandmen. The description of the vineyard is from Isaiah and the vineyard is a metaphor to describe Israel. The owner of the vineyard is God, and the Son is Jesus.
The Pharisees and priests in this parable were too proud to be corrected. Instead of correcting their ways and repenting, they ended up with God’s condemnation. Jesus wants us all to be open to divine correction as by doing so, we gain wisdom and understanding. This is something everyone needs to contemplate today, especially in our era of social unrest and social injustice.
Let us pray.
Today this country is more divided than it has been since the days of the Civil War. Help us to remember that our democracy is not over, it is merely being tested. We still have work to do. Help us remember that You still reign and You call us to love one another as You love us.
Help us remember to be agents of forgiveness and reconciliation, love and peace, healing, and hope, in a world made dark by fear, hatred, and brokenness.
Help us to rebuild this nation by seeing Your Image in the face of others.
Help us to live by what is written on every piece of currency in this nation, “In God We Trust”.
All this we ask in Jesus’ name.