Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 4, 2020 Cycle A
by Rev. Jose Maria de Sousa Alvin Calado Cortes, F.S.C.B.
Chaplain Saint John Paul II National Shrine
 Washington, D.C.

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Sunday Reading Meditations

In today’s readings, the vineyard imagery represents the kingdom of God: “The vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel” (Is 5:7).

The owner of the vineyard is the Father and we are the tenants. The Father expects us to produce fruit: “When vintage time drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce” (Mt 21:34). The tenants had been entrusted with the vineyard and were supposed to return the fruit. Today’s Alleluia verse says: “I have chosen you from the world, says the Lord, to go and bear fruit that will remain.”

We come from God and return to him. Since we receive everything from God, we should give everything back to him. Unless the fruit is returned to its origin,  it cannot last.

We need to give what we love or possess back to God. The tenants did not want to return the produce. They forgot the words of today’s entrance antiphon: “[…] For you have made all things, the heaven and the earth, and all that is held within the circle of heaven; you are the Lord of all.” They forgot that they were merely tenants and not the owners of the vineyard or its produce. When we forget our Creator, we only produce “wild grapes,” that is to say, bitter and useless fruit. In today’s first reading, the prophet Isaiah says: “Then he looked for the crop of grapes, but what it yielded was wild grapes” (Is 5:2). The tenants’ repudiation of the owner’s rights led to violence: “[they] seized the servants and one they beat, another they killed, and third they stoned” (Mt 21:35).

Our brokenness prevents us from adequately returning what the Father has entrusted to us. We fear death and the loss of our possessions. Therefore, we need to pray with the words of today’s psalm: “O LORD, God of hosts, restore us; if your face shine upon us, then we shall be saved” (Ps 80:19). The Father sent his own Son to save us from nothingness. In Christ, all things return to the Father. In Christ, we return to our origin. Everything returns to the Father in the Eucharist. In the bread and the wine transformed into the body and blood of Christ and offered on the altar, we enter into the glory of the Father: “Through him, and with him, and in him, O God, almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours.”

The perception that all things come from God and return to him conquers our anxiety. In today’s second reading, Saint Paul says: “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God” (Phil 4:6). As our awareness of God’s plan grows, our anxiety is superseded by peace: “The peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:7).

As we allow the mystery of Christ to live in us, we contribute to the fulfillment of history and the cosmos. In our consciousness, everything moves toward the final destiny, through the glorification of the universe and the  peaceful march toward the fullness: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (Rev 22:13).

Let us ask for the grace to be fruitful workers in the vineyard of the Lord. May we be grateful for what we receive from God and unstintingly give it back to him. May the fruit we produce remain in Christ for ever.  Amen.