Continue the care of the Vineyard

10-04-2020Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian

Our first reading this weekend, which comes from the Old Testament from the Book of Isaiah, is a poem or song composed by the prophet about his friend, a vineyard keeper. This composition contains a lot of symbols and has great meaning. The storyline is about his friend, the vineyard keeper, and what can happen. We do not learn right away, but ultimately we discover that this vineyard keeper is God. What happens in the vineyard is important to hear and understand as it has great meaning. His friend the keeper had to first decide what field to use and also to make sure that it was free from rocks and stones and ready for planting. He then had to plant the vines, and in addition, he constructed a vat and tower. The story tells us that he did everything right as a farmer, but that crop did not come out the way it should have. Wild grapes resulted, not finely cultured and luscious grapes. This keeper became really angry and decided to just let it all go back to seed and lay fallow. The field and vineyard would be as it would be.

Our Gospel passage is taken from Matthew also is about vineyards but from a different point of view. The point of view is from the human side, not from the view of God. Recall that the landowner, who is really God, previously sent his servants, who are prophets, to gather all the fruits of the harvest. The workers, actually the chief priests and elders, killed the servants, the prophets. And we know that then the landowner finally sent his son thinking the workers surely would not kill him, too. But they did and we also know that Jesus, the Son of the Father, was killed on a cross. The major message of this whole passage is that it is God’s way that something good should be born from something bad. Even though God’s Son died on a cross, new life for the world began with his Death and Resurrection.

When we have read the Gospel, we easily interpret the vines in the passage from Isaiah to be ourselves. We come to recognize that we have been given every chance and opportunity to love and serve God. The real question is: are the grapes, the fruits of our vines, wild or will the fruits, our actions, yield a good crop?

Do you realize that we are the ones who have inherited the vineyard as the Son has died and has begun a new life in the Resurrection? The vineyard of Matthew’s Gospel has been left to us. The owner’s son was killed, but his new life began with his Resurrection. The field has been given us to care for; the field is the Church and all of the creation of God. God calls us to continue the care of the vineyard and also to be faithful to its mission. For the fruit and harvest to be good and plentiful, we need to work actively in our Church and world.

Fr. Brian