Gospel Reflection: Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Malvern Minute

 

TWENTY- SEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

OCTOBER 8, 2017

ALLELUIA

I have chosen you from the world, says the Lord,

To go forth and bear fruit that will remain.

ALLELUIA

 

A reading from the holy Gospel according  to St. Matthew:  21: 33-43

The kingdom of God will be … given to a people that will produce its fruit.                                                                                           

 Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: “Hear another parable. 

 There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey.   When vintage time drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce.  But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat, another they killed, and a third they stoned.   

 Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones, but they treated them in the same way.   Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’  But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’   They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.  What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?”

 They answered him, “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.”   Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in 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’?

Therefore, I say to you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.

The Gospel of the Lord

 

REFLECTION — Provided by Monsignor Joseph T. Marino

As in the last two Sundays, this Sunday’s Gospel continues the teaching of Jesus concerning the Kingdom of God and how the human community has responded to God’s invitation throughout the ages.  The parable again has its setting in a vineyard.

Throughout the Old Testament, the vineyard was both a garden of peace and plenty, as well as an image of God’s chosen people, Israel.  The Lord God is a Land-Lord.   From the first pages of Sacred Scripture, God is revealed as a gardener.  God carefully and purposefully arranged all creation so that the garden would have all it needed to grow and produce good fruit.  Then God established Adam and Eve, the first of His people in the garden so that His people would grow and be fruitful and truly be the Lord’s special vineyard.

In addition, the tension displayed last week in the Gospel between Jesus and the Jewish leadership continues in this Sunday’s Gospel.  But, it is important to note that the tension increases because the content of the parables becomes more and more personal.   Last week’s parable intensified the exchange by identifying the landlord as a father requesting his two sons to help.   This week, it becomes very, very apparent that the servants are really special agents of God, and that the son referred to is the Son of God.  Indeed, the persons referred in the story are very dear to God.

The tenants are the Jewish religious leaders who have been entrusted with the care of God’s people, the vines so that they may produce good, wholesome fruit.  The Servants who were sent by the owner to obtain his produce were the prophets that were repeatedly sent by God.  The tenants prove not to be trustworthy stewards. In fact, they are exposed as thieves and murderers. Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.  But, They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.  The parable reveals God’s constant care for His people, and it exposes the insidious nature of sin and its manifestations in greed, violence and death, the consequence in rejecting the Son.

The parable is not just an old story.  It finds its contemporary expression in the insidious nature of sin and its manifestations in our day.  Individuals and societies that refuse the presence of God and the values of the Gospel run the risk of reckless greed, escalating violence and finally, the denial of the sacredness of human life and the advancement of a culture of death!

He sent his son … thinking, ‘They will respect my son.  Each person is offered the gift of the Son of God by a Father who loves the human race.  The parable states the reality of humanity’s free will to either embrace Jesus Christ, the source of Life or to suffer the consequences of our own doing, reckless greed, escalating violence and finally, the denial of the sacredness of human life and the advancement of a culture of death!

Furthermore, Jesus seizes the opportunity to reveal Himself as the biblical cornerstone rejected by the builders.  At this point the Gospel takes a dramatic shift by breaking out of the parable and by challenging past and present listeners to review their lives … for us to review our lives!   The parable comes to its climax with the question: What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?   The leaders answer the question, and in doing so seal their own fate.

Jesus Christ is the foundation of the Kingdom of God!  Is Jesus Christ the foundation of our lives?  If other things are the goal and foundation for which we live, are we any better that the tenants of the parable?   Are our lives devoted to producing Good Fruit: love of God and service to our neighbor – or is self interest the fruit of our vines?   Rejection of Jesus as the cornerstone, compromising our commitment to Jesus can happen a little at a time … and before you know it:  the kingdom of God will be … given to a people that will produce its fruit.

ENCOUNTERING THE DIVINE PHYSICIAN, JESUS CHRIST

HEALING OF THE PARALYTIC (LUKE 5: 17-26)                                                   

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