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Preaching: English A - B C / ѱ*Korean *A *B *C Spanish A B - C


A - 27th Sunday in the Ordinary Time


1st. Is. 5,1-7. The Lord's Vineyard.
* Psalm 80. Safety in the Lord.
2nd. Phil. 4,6-9. Wholesome Thoughts.
Gospel. Mt. 21,33-43. The Tenant Farmers.

It has been said that "a people who do not know its history is condemned to repeat it." Today's Word focuses on the traditional image of Israel as God's vineyard, warning and inviting us to bear good fruits by living up to God's expectations, abiding by God's principles such as honesty, truthfulness, goodness, humbleness, and being open hearted to God's Word and ways, etc.

Beginning with the prophet Isaiah (8th century B.C.), the theme of the vineyard appears frequently in biblical literature as a symbol of Israel (Is. 5, 1-4). Indeed it became a classic way to describe God's relationship with His people. Even though the Lord was good to all who hoped in Him and to those who searched for Him, remaining faithful to His covenant with Israel; Israel proved itself a sinful and wicked nation, often eager to follow any other paths but God's. The prophets criticized all injustice and wrong doing and repeatedly recalled God's ways to those who would listen and yet, often the leaders not only did not listen and convert, but killed most of the prophets as undesireables.

Jesus, at the end of his ministry, took up such an allegory and made it into a parable or rather, in this case, a kind of metaphore. The owner of the vineyard is God Himself, who has done everything possible to save His people. He created humans in His own image of freedom and endowed them with all needed virtues. Yet they have spoiled every attempt to wholly live up to God's expectations. Humanity is God's vineyard, but still humanity fails repeatedly to give good fruits of love, justice, compassion, etc. falling again and again victim of its own sins. However, a major criticism is addressed to what might be part of the problem, bad leadership. The tenants in the parable seem to represent the leaders of Israel. The tenants, not being the owners of the vineyard, behave in the dastardly manner given in the parable, while wanting to have all the profit from the vineyard. They behave as bad shepherds for their own well being.

At the end of his ministry Jesus encountered a tremendous opposition on the part of the leaders of Israel. Therefore, by using this kind of parable Jesus strongly warned the leaders of the people, who were more eager to follow their own traditions than to surrender to God's plan of salvation.

At the same time, this word is a warning for us, especially those called to some kind of service in the Church or society. We are servants, not owners, and humbly we have to do our best to share with others what we have got from God, guiding to Him everybody we encounter in our journey.

With a saddened heart Jesus implied in this parable that a new covenant is needed. The Israel of God (Gal. 6,16) will succeed the historical Israel and the new tenants will be Christians. That is, those who listen to God's Word and believe in Jesus, those who enter the Kingdom of God, those who practice good works, are truthful, honest, etc.; in one word, those who follow God's ways.

I invite everyone to apply today's readings to their own life. Once more, today's readings tell us about a wonderful and tragic story of love on one hand and disappointment on the other. We are the new Israel and we can run the risk of perishing as well as the old Israel, not because of God's change of attitude, but because of our stubbornness and our sinful lives. Today, those who hear the voice of God, do not harden your hearts; open them up to Him and correct your wrong doing. God is offering a fresh new beginning. Be wise, knowing the past, prepare for your future and endorse it. Be consistent and truthful to your vocation. Indeed, "The Lord is good to those who hope in Him, to those who are searching for his love" (Lam.3,25).

Preaching: English A - B C / ѱ*Korean *A *B *C Spanish A B - C