04 October 2014

TENANTS, NOT OWNERS

XXVII SUNDAY OF THE YEAR 
isaiah 5:1-7; philippians 4:6-9; matthew 21:33-43

the angel gabriel returned from surveying the earth, and reported to GOD: «you own a choice piece of real estate known as earth. but the tenants to whom you’ve leased it out are destroying it. in another few years, it won’t be fit to live in. they have polluted your rivers; fouled the air; degraded the soil; destroyed the rain-forests… by any rule of sound management, LORD, you have one option.» then raising his trumpet to his lips, gabriel asked: «shall i sound the eviction notice?»
GOD said: «no, gabriel! not yet. you are right, but i keep thinking if i give them a little more time, they’ll quit acting like they own the place!»

the readings of today
- portray us as tenants of GOD’s vineyard… and remind us not to act like we own the place. 
- highlight GOD’s generosity and trust: he provided everything the people needed—fertile land, hedge, winepress, tower—to produce a good vintage. GOD asks: «what more was there to do for my vineyard?» 
- tell us of GOD’s patience: he sends his servants several times to collect the produce, and finally sends his son. 
- remind us that GOD’s justice will prevail: the people yielded «wild grapes» (first reading); they refused to hand-over the produce, and treated the servants and the son violently. so GOD finally evicts the tenants: «the kingdom of GOD will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.»

we are tenants. GOD has given us a mission to accomplish. he has provided the means and the freedom to accomplish it… and in a most amazing «vineyard»! 

do i look after the vineyard, or do i ruin it though my selfish and materialistic consumerism? what kind of fruit do i bear: «wild grapes» or grapes of good vintage? do i hand over the produce to GOD, or do i act like i own the vineyard?