Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 8, 2017
Responsorial Psalm PS 80:9, 12, 13-14, 15-16, 19-20
Reading 2 PHIL 4:6-9
Alleluia CF. JN 15:16
- Alleluia, alleluia.
I have chosen you from the world, says the Lord,
to go and bear fruit that will remain.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
- Gospel MT 21:33-43
Homily— October 7 & 8, 2017
We expect promises to be kept. We expect contracts to be fulfilled. We expect directions to be followed. Despite our expectations, however, deep down we know there is no guarantee that our expectations of integrity, doing what is right, being reliable will be met. How true this was for the landowner in this Sunday’s gospel parable who leases his vineyard to tenants. He presumed that the tenants would fulfill their half of the agreement. How wrong he was!
I am sure that the people who went to the concert in Las Vegas never expected the tragedy that was to take place. I am sure that what the shooter did was not part of God’s plan but was allowed to happen in order that we might be able to exercise our freedom to do what is right or what is wrong. This appears to be a premediated action of a man who was angry with people and angry with himself who allowed an evil thought that led to an evil action to rule the end of his life. Have you had an evil thought against another person or group of people? I have had some stupid thoughts come into my head from I don’t know where and then I have a choice of developing that thought or changing to a good thought. I am sure we could think up our own horrific actions but we know that it is wrong and besides we don’t want the consequences of everlasting punishment in hell. I want to spend all of eternity with loving people and a loving God and I know that I want to be a citizen of heaven.
In 2015 Pope Francis wrote the Encyclical “Laudato Si” and I share this excerpt with you:
“The current global situation engenders a feeling of instability and uncertainty, which in turn becomes ‘a seedbed for collective selfishness.’ When people become self-centered and self-enclosed, their greed increases. The emptier a person’s heart is, the more he or she needs things to buy, own, and consume. It becomes almost impossible to accept the limits imposed by reality. In this horizon, a genuine sense of the common good also disappears. As these attitudes become more widespread, social norms are respected only to the extent that they do not clash with personal needs. So our concern cannot be limited merely to the threat of extreme weather events, but must also extend to the catastrophic consequences of social unrest. Obsession with a consumerist lifestyle, above all when few people are capable of maintaining it, can only lead to violence and mutual destruction.
Yet all is not lost. Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start, despite their mental and social conditioning. We are able to take an honest look at ourselves, to acknowledge our deep dissatisfaction, and to embark on new paths to authentic freedom. No system can completely suppress our openness to what is good, true, and beautiful, or our God-given ability to respond to his grace at work deep in our hearts. I appeal to everyone throughout the world not to forget this dignity which is ours. No one has the right to take it from us.”
The shooter in Las Vegas did not have a right to take anyone’s life not even his own. I do not believe that we can prevent all of these tragedies from happening but I want to see some laws that keep people from rapid-fire weapons and continue to keep people from putting silencers on their guns. If you have a gun keep it locked up and know how to use it appropriately. As I read the paper I am surprised at how often a gun is stolen from a house or a car.
Where is this vineyard that is being talked about? As a metaphor for the kingdom of heaven, it is obvious that the vineyard belongs solely and exclusively to God: God owns it, builds it, does all that is necessary to protect it. We are the laborers invited into the kingdom to tend the divine vineyard, to produce an abundance of fruit. Ironically, the vineyard which the wicked tenants attempt to gain by violence is freely given to those of us who will work faithfully to produce its fruit. We are those new tenants who produce fruit because we surrender our self-will to God and accept Jesus as the One who shows the way. By so doing we gain everything. Apart from Jesus we tenants can do nothing on our own, but with Jesus as our cornerstone we can do anything that is expected of us.
God has a plan for us and we can do our part to participate in God’s plan or we can do nothing or we can actively work against God’s plan. Paul tells us to use prayer and petition with thanksgiving to make our requests to God. We are to think about whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious. Think good thoughts and strive to be a part of God’s plan not your plan.