Browsing Homilies

Twenty Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time 10.8.23

How’s your Vineyard?

How’s your vineyard?  You look puzzled!  We’ll come back to that question.

The readings today involve two vineyards – There is a poem about one and a parable about another. 

First, the poem:  In the second half of the 8th century BC, the northern kingdom fell to Assyria.  At the same time, Jerusalem was surrounded by the army of Sennacherib. Isaiah received his call to the prophetic office in the Temple of Jerusalem, thus making him the ambassador of the Most High. 

“Let me now sing of my friend, [God]

My friend’s song concerning his vineyard. [the Kingdom of Israel]

Through Isaiah, God reflects all that he did to give his people all that they needed to build a happy and holy life in the land that he provided for them. 

What more could he have done for them? 

And after all that he did, he looked to see what fruit his vineyard produced and what did he find?

“He looked for judgment, but see, bloodshed!

For justice, but hark, the outcry!”

The Father laments in this poem by Isaiah.

The second vineyard is a parable: A parable is a story with a message.  It parallels a real-life situation from which it pulls a lesson. 

The landowner is God:  Again, he is describes as having done all he could to create the best possible conditions for the vineyard to be productive – producing great fruit in abundance.

The tenants are the house of Israel – those to whom the Father’s vineyard (Creation) was entrusted. Israel then – but today – us!

The servants are the prophets sent by God to bring out from the people the produce (good works) that the Father expects from his people. 

What does the Father get from his creation – which back in Genesis, he called good? Rejection, insult, violence finally murder – in fact, murder of his own Son!

“The stone rejected by the builders (who were entrusted with building the Kingdom) has become the cornerstone.”

Are you seeing what I am seeing in these two readings today?

Isaiah’s poem and this parable from Jesus apply directly to our world today and that has happened to American popular culture – especially in the last decade.

Rejection – The fastest growing “religion” (And I put that in quotes) when someone fills out a survey that asks for religion, is none.

Insult – rejection, Traditional religious views are ridiculed today. When we speak of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, or the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception until the moment of natural life, or the permanence of marriage, we hear, “Surely you don’t really believe that!”

Look at the violence we hear about every day!  

We have become numb to mass murders that happen at a rate of more than one per day.

And I believe that God looks down on his vineyard…all that he created to give us a beautiful home so that we could be happy here and enjoy eternal joy with him forever…He looks at what he sees now, and he weeps.

So, what do we do? 

St. Paul tells us in the second reading:

Don’t be anxious.

Pray, ask for what you need and thank God

Let the peace from Jesus fill your mind and heart.

“Finally, brothers and sisters,

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable

Whatever is just, whatever is pure,

whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious,

if there is any excellence

and if there is anything worthy of praise,

Think about these things.

Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me.

Then the God of peace will be with you.

Celebrate all that is good and true and beautiful.  Concentrate on that.

Each of us has a vineyard…in which we live and in which we can make a difference.

You see, Jesus told us in John, Chapter 15:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower” (John 15)

“I am the vine, and you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.”

In my vineyard, with me, are Diana, my wife, two daughters and their husbands, six grandchildren (and one more on the way), three sisters, a brother and their spouses and children, friends, colleagues, former students, my brother deacons, neighbors, and all of you. 

My vineyard is my sphere of influence.  In this space, I can make a difference. My interactions in this space – what I say and what I do, impact those around me.  It is in this space that I live out my faith.

It’s the same for you – who is in your vineyard?

Within our vineyard we have the opportunity to produce the good fruit that God is looking for and that Jesus says will happen if we remain in him.

By what we say and what we do, are we spreading peace and joy?

Are we at our best and are we helping others to be at their best?

Are we compassionate and loving?

Do our words and actions bring people closer to Jesus or push them farther away?

We have the opportunity today to receive Jesus into our heart and to take him with us back into our vineyard.

He has entrusted us with a mission – to be a disciple and to make disciples within our vineyard by our good works.

So, I ask you again – How is your vineyard?


Penitential Rite

Lord Jesus, You have given us all that we need to live a happy and holy life. Lord have mercy.

Lord Jesus, you look for good works from us, Christ have mercy.

Lord Jesus, you give us yourself to help us grow in faith, Lord have mercy.


RSS Feed