Twenty-Seventh Sunday In Ordinary Time Year A
October 07, 2023 – 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 21:33-43

 In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Good morning!  And welcome back choir, snowbirds, and fall weather!

Our readings today take us on a journey of self-reflection and introspection as we delve into the transformative power of having purpose in our lives.  We have three poignant passages from the Scriptures of Isaiah, Philippians, and Matthew, all of which offer us teachings on cultivating the fruits of a purposeful life.

But it is important that we always remember that we cannot rely on ourselves alone to bear the fruit of righteousness.  We must also depend on God’s grace and mercy to guide us.

In our first reading from Isaiah, which is known as the Song of the Vineyard, a landowner lovingly tends to his vineyard, patiently attending to every aspect of its growth and development.  However, despite his devoted care, the vineyard disappoints, yielding wild grapes instead of his desired high-quality fruit.

This parable holds significant meaning:  the vineyard represents God’s chosen people, while the landowner represents God.  It speaks to the profound responsibility each one of us has been entrusted with—to bear fruit that reflects our purpose in life and glorifies God.  When we fail to cultivate fruitful lives, we bring disappointment to the One who lovingly tends to us.

We are transitioned to St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians in our second reading where we are encouraged to replace our anxieties with thanksgiving and prayer to God.  By bringing our troubles and concerns to God, we acknowledge His sovereignty and by doing so, we allow God’s peace to enter our hearts.  We are invited to shift our focus from our worries onto “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable.”

By focusing on these virtuous ideals, we train our hearts and our minds to align with God’s will.  As a result, God’s peace will anchor us and guard us in His serenity.

Now we turn our attention to Jesus’ parable of the tenants to which many people have an aversion.  In this story, a landowner plants a vineyard, leases it to tenants, and leaves it under their care while he is away.  When the landowner sends his servants and his very own son to collect the fruit, the tenants respond with violence, killing the son in a brazen display of rebellion.

As we delve deeper into the meaning of this parable, we uncover powerful truths about the consequences of rejecting God’s divine purpose and the blessings bestowed upon us.  The tenants embody greed, pride, and rebellion.  These are qualities rooted in a refusal to acknowledge the rightful authority of the landowner.  Their actions exemplify the tragic consequences of resisting God’s plan.

Note that there is a common theme in all of today’s readings:  a purposeful life.  It is a call to recognize and cultivate the fruits of purpose in our own lives.  Each one of us has a unique purpose given to us by God.  When we align our lives with this purpose, we experience a profound sense of fulfillment and happiness.

So how can we promote purposeful living?  Here are some steps to guide us:

  1. Seek God’s Will Spend more time in prayer, seeking God’s guidance and wisdom in discerning your purpose. Trust in Him that He will reveal it to you in His perfect timing.
  2. Cultivate Gratitude Develop a habit of being thankful, shifting your focus towards your blessings instead of your challenges. Embrace thanksgiving as an opportunity to acknowledge God’s goodness and faithfulness in your life.
  3. Guard Your Thoughts Consciously steer your mind away from negativity, replacing it with thoughts that align with God’s truth and virtues. Meditate and pray on Scriptures and teachings that inspire and uplift you.
  4. Embrace Continuous Growth Commit yourself to ongoing personal and spiritual growth. Seek opportunities for learning, self-reflection, and developing virtuous character traits that align with your purpose.
  5. Surround Yourself With Support Build relationships with like-minded people who can support and encourage you on your journey of purposeful living. With their encouragement and support, you can inspire one another to stay aligned with God’s plan.

As we explore the meaning of these readings, let us remember that our lives are like vineyards entrusted to us by a loving and patient God.  Cultivating fruitful lives is our calling, and purposeful living is the pathway to fulfillment and happiness!

So let us seek God’s will, foster gratitude, guard our thoughts, embrace personal and spiritual growth, and surround ourselves with supportive people and communities, like Saint Cecilia’s, on this transformative journey. Let us walk in the confidence and trust that through God’s grace, we can bear the fruits of a purposeful life.