27th Sunday of the Year: At work in the Vineyard of the Lord

vineyard

Study:  Recall a time when you rejected something you knew was right.  Did you finally swallow your pride and admit it or did you maintain your original rejection?

Pray:  Ask the Lord for the wisdom and guidance to choose what is good, holy, and true.

Serve:  Who in your life is facing a difficult or challenging decision right now?  How can you help them?

Mass Readings – 27th Sunday of the Year

In the ancient world there were three plants that were very important:
* wheat — for making bread
* olives — for making oil
* grapes — for making wine

These three foods were central to the diet of the people in the Gospel story. Bread was the staple; it was unleavened and similar to our “pita bread” today. Oil was used for cooking, bathing, cleaning, perfume, and household applications. Wine was the principle alternative to water – and when added to water, the alcohol in the wine insured a certain level of safety.

Vineyards were a common part of people’s experience. Even today the Mediterranean region is filled with vineyards, some small, others massive. Thus, when the Scriptures refer to vineyards, the image was familiar and easily understood.

Keeping a vineyard is hard work! The vines need constant attention: pruning, weeding, watering, and keeping them tied up off the ground. Patient care is required as workers routinely check the health of the plant so as to prevent any disease.

In the Gospel today we hear how a landowner leased his vineyard out to tenants who worked for him. At harvest time he sent his servants to gather his portion of grapes, only to have them rejected and injured. Finally he sent his son who was killed by the tenants.

One way to understand this story is to see the tenants as the people of Israel. They rejected the servants (the Prophets) sent by the landowner (God), and killed the only son (Jesus). Simply put, their work in the vineyard did not yield good fruit; their actions resulted in rejection and death.

But what happens when we place ourselves in the story? What happens when we see ourselves as the servants in the vineyard?

Every day God sends messengers into our hearts. We know how we should live and offer our lives through many sources: our conscience; friends & family; the Scriptures; the teaching of the Church.

Let’s face it. We work in a different vineyard, the garden of life. We labor as tenants on the Earth, bearing fruit that will one day be harvested by the Owner. May our work in the vineyard be worthy when he calls, and may our reception of his servants show our respect and our love.

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts

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This post was originally published on September 30, 2014

About Fr. Andrew Ricci

A Catholic priest since 1997, Fr. Andrew Ricci is currently the rector of the Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior, WI. His website "Three Great Things" can be found at studyprayserve.com and his podcasts can be found under "Catholic Inspiration" in the iTunes store. View all posts by Fr. Andrew Ricci

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