A HOMILY FOR THE TWENTY-SEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME –CYCLE “A” – 10/8/17 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
After the insanity of what we witnessed in the mass shooting in Las Vegas this past week, it seems eerily appropriate to come to Mass this week, and to hear what is certainly one of Jesus’ most violent parables: the parable of the tenant vineyard workers. These messengers from the landowner, several of them, in fact, are killed in this parable. One they just beat. Apparently, he got off easy. And the parable mentions that another one was stoned. Well, isn’t that just another form of killing? Is Jesus just pointing out how cruel and violent these tenants were? And eventually, of course, the landowner’s own son is also killed, despite who he is and what he represents. So Jesus seems to go out of His way to show us that this parable is about a whole lot more than just a few grapes. These renegade tenant vineyard workers have taken this conflict to a whole other level of violence. The owner of the vineyard is going to be furious and is going to want blood for all the blood that was shed. This is not a happy parable. There’s no nice surprise. There’s no happy ending for anyone involved.
And remember, who is Jesus addressing this parable to? Once again, this week, it’s the chief priests and elders of the people, the Jewish leadership. Very clearly, Jesus is equating the Jewish leadership, with the out-of-control tenant vineyard workers. Just as in the parable the tenant vineyard workers killed the messengers, so too had the Jewish leadership killed the prophets down through the years. And just as in the parable the tenants also kill the vineyard owner’s son, so too will the Jewish leadership kill the Son of God, as soon as they get the chance.
You see, the real problem here is not a fair share of the grapes. It’s not about broken trust and a broken agreement to provide the owner with his portion of the grapes. It’s not even about the violence and killing. The central issue in this parable is that these tenant workers have forgotten that they are not the vineyard owner. Just as the Chief priests and elders of the people have forgotten that they are NOT God! They think that they are in charge. They think that they can do anything that they want. They think that the rules don’t apply to them. They think that they can get away with murder, and that it’s all right. The chief priests and the elders of the people have broken the First Commandment: “I am the Lord your God, You shall NOT have false God’s before me.”
Is this a problem that only affects the Chief priests and elders of the people two thousand years ago? No. Not at all. Do we have the same problem rampant in our society and culture today? Absolutely! We don’t need golden calves, or marble temples, or piles of money, or acres of property, to be our false gods. We don’t need them because we, like the chief priests and elders of the people, have made ourselves into little false gods. We think that we are in charge. And we’re not. We’re really not. But we sure like to play, to pretend that we are. Noi non siamo dio. Solo Dio e Dio! Only the One True God, is God. And He is a jealous God. Isn’t it time that we let God be God in our lives?
And that means that we’ve got to quit making decisions for Him! When it comes to life, when it comes to who and how we will love and care, when it comes to when and how we will obey, and do the right thing, even when it comes to discerning His will, we need to trust Him and let Him be Lord and God of our lives. We’re here to love and serve Him, and to build His Kingdom. Not the other way around!
The tenant vineyard workers had a rude awakening coming when they realized how much trouble they were in. And so did the chief priests and elders of the people, when they missed out on the Messiah that they had waited for their whole lives! We can’t be like that. We don’t want to miss out! We don’t want the Kingdom of God to be taken away from us. Then let us let God be God, and be in charge of our lives!
+ May God bless us today, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!