HOMILY FOR THE 27TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR A
“I HAVE CHOSEN YOU FROM THE WORLD, SAYS THE LORD,
TO GO AND BEAR FRUIT THAT WILL REMAIN.”
- Summary of ideas of this Sunday’s readings
- The Parable of the wicked tenants.
- Spiritual considerations.
With the parable of the vineyard and the wicked tenants, Jesus presents the history of salvation in today’s Sunday Gospel (Mt 21:33ff) wherein He recounts how the house of Israel −the Lord’s vineyard (cf. 1st reading, Is 5:2 and Resp. Psalm 79) that did not bear fruit−, rejected God’s prophets throughout time.
- God, the landowner of the vineyard, finally decided to send His own Son, who was finally rejected by the wicked tenants and was brutally murdered (cf. Mt 21:38).
- From there, the kingdom of heaven will be taken away from the house of Israel and will be given to a people who bear fruit (Cf. Mt 21:43), the People of God, the New Israel, which is the Church founded and instituted by Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is ‘The stone that the builders rejected” and which “has become the cornerstone” (Mt 21:42).
- His Church, the New People of God, is expected to bear fruits of holiness and virtues: to carry out “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.(2nd reading, Phil: 4:6-9).”
- This idea is summarized in the Gospel Acclamation: “I have chosen you from the world, says the Lord, to go and bear fruit that will remain.”
This very important parable completes the previous one, the parable of the two sons which simply identifies the indocility of Israel; that of the wicked tenants focuses on the punishment to come.
Jesus prophesies the punishment God will inflict on the evildoers: he will put them to death and rent the vineyard to others.
“What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes? They answered him, ‘He will put those wretched men to a wretched death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper times’ (Mt 21: 41).”
- This is a very significant prophecy: St Peter later repeats it to the Sanhedrin: “this is the stone which was rejected by you builders, but which has become the head of the corner” (Acts 4:11; 1 Pet 2:4). The stone is Jesus of Nazareth, but the architects of Israel, who build up and rule the people, have chosen not to use it in the building. Because of their unfaithfulness the Kingdom of God will be turned over to another people, the Gentiles, who will give God the fruit he expects his vineyard to yield (cf. Mt 3:8-10; Gal 6:16).
- For the building to be well built, it needs to rest on this Stone, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Woe to him who trips over it! (cf. Mt 12:30; Lk 2:34), as first Jews and later the enemies of Christ and his Church will discover through bitter experience (cf. Is 8:14-1 5).
3.1. Jesus Christ is the indestructible cornerstone of the Church. We should be filled with hope and security.
Christians in all ages should see this parable as exhorting them to build faithfully upon Christ and make sure they do not fall into the sin of rebellion and indocility.
- We should be filled with hope and a sense of security; for, although the building — the Church — at times seems to be breaking up, its sound construction, with Christ as its cornerstone, is assured.
- Our Lord promised that his vineyard will never be destroyed, His Church will prevail over the gates of evil, of Hell. Hence, St. Paul, in the 2nd reading (Phil 4:6ff) exhorts us to “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
3.2. Jesus, the cornerstone of the Catholic Church, expects from all Christians, the living stones which are built upon it, and compose His Church, fruits of holiness.
Jesus, the cornerstone of the Catholic Church, expects from all Christians, the living stones which are built upon it, and compose His Church, fruits of holiness and apostolate.
- As Christians, Our Lord has chosen us and expects us to faithfully follow Him by imitating His life and living the same virtues He lived and taught. In short, He wants us to be “other Christs”, “Christ himself” (St. Josemaria). This is the fruit of holiness God expects from each one from us, holiness which is made up of little things done out of love for God during the day.
- But many times we do not give Christians the fruits of good works that the Lord expects of us and we are as devastated by our enemies: our disordered passions, the devil, and those who hate Christ’s Church. With Psalm 79 let us ask: ” O Lord, God of hosts, restore us; if your face shine upon us, then we shall be saved.”.
“Don’t let your life be barren. Be useful. Make yourself felt.
Shine forth with the torch of your faith and your love.
With your apostolic life, wipe out the trail of filth and slime left by the corrupt sowers of hatred. And set aflame all the ways of the earth with the fire of Christ that you bear in your heart. (St. Josemaria, The Way, 1)”
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ORIGINAL PHOTO CREDIT OF MEME: BRIAN JANSENN