This past Sunday, in both the first reading from Isaiah and the Gospel, we hear of the vineyard. Isaiah, chapter 5 is a song of a vineyard well prepared, and yet yields wild grapes. The Gospel tells the parable of the evil tenants who do not do the owner’s bidding.
I have asked Fr. Pius Amah if I could share his homily with my readers, as a guest writer. Enjoy!
The message today goes to tell us how much God hurts in great disappointment when we do not respond to his love for us. Starting from the time of creation, God has been abundantly generous and loving in providing for we need to be joyful and happy. In spite of all this, what do we give God in return? Misuse of all the talents and resources at our disposal due to our selfish interests which, in the end, turn back on us and hurt us.
It is quite evident in our personal experience, when parents and teachers sacrifice time and talent and material to give to their kids the best they have to offer. Often, their task is not rewarded. When all the love and care they show is greeted by disrespect and disregard to their requests (like the landowner who expects his due from the tenants of the vineyard).
The first reading today underscores God’s expression of disappointment with the people of Israel; the parable told by Jesus in the Gospel points toward the same conclusion. God has his expectation of us. According to the Biblical wisdom he sees us as his coworkers. We are made in his image and we are related to him in a sacred partnership, in a covenant.
The question now is, do we live up to what God expects from us? He chose us to go into his vineyard and work, to go into the world and yield sweet fruits that will last, not acidic grapes that will bring illness upon us like a cancer.
Because of a lack of trust and patience in God, we often go out of our way to take our destiny in our own hands, ignoring God’s warnings and cautions. To fast track needs and desires we slip into worries and anxieties, we become visibly nervous about health issues and financial problems.
The world and its affairs are too huge for us to handle without God’s help.
In the midst of our worries, how much of God’s help do we seek? How much time do we spend in His presence trying to figure things out? We must turn to Him in acknowledgement of his greatness, and pray to him with thanksgiving and ask him to take away our worries. Saint Paul offers us this solution, and according to him, “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Even when your situation does not change as you want, God promises to give you the peace of mind in the midst of your troubles. It will be the type of peace no other person or material possession will give you.
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, trust and obey God, because there is no other way to be truly happy, other than to trust and obey God who has employed you to live and work, and will give the appropriate wage of life both here and in eternity.
Homily given by the Parochial Vicar, Fr. Pius Amah
Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Sacramento, California
27th Sunday of Ordinary Time