I often wonder how the Church chooses the Scriptures we hear on Sundays as sometimes the Readings really seem to “fit” with the Gospel and other times, like this week, I have to really think about how it is that they are presented together. This week’s First Reading is reflected well in the Gospel, both of them speaking of a vineyard and the care or lack of it on the part of the people working there. But the Second Reading today is again from St. Paul to the Philippians and offers us advice about having no worries. Interesting. Could it be that St. Paul is offering advice that might beespecially helpful in light of Matthew’s Gospel that presents how the owner of a vineyard entrusted his land to his servants and then, for many reasons that we are left to imagine, the servants “turned on” the owner and those he sent to receive his harvest, even to the extent of the owner sending his own son who they killed. Hear anything familiar here? Could this be another parable that vividly depicts what happened when God entrusted the world (his vineyard) to the servants (his people), only to be disappointed in how they handled themselves? He too, sent his own Son to make things right, and the people of the world killed him.
So then what about the advice from St. Paul? The final words of today’s Gospel, coming directly from Jesus were these:
“The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.” That’s disturbing. Are we the people who will have it all taken away from us? Are we the people who are gifted much and then think that we deserve to own it all and deal with it the way we desire? If so, what are we to do? St.Paul tells us:
“Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.”
The answer and the hope of salvation depends upon our turning to God, for it is with the love and mercy and forgiveness of God that we are saved from the harm we cause ourselves as we live inboxed GOd’s vineyard. What can learn from St. Paul is that we must remain in relationship
with God and that we can go to him with all that we are and all that we fail to be and we will be forgiven, loved and saved. In this we find hope: “Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4.9 Let us pray asking God to be with us as we strive to be a people, his people, who will produce good fruit in this world that we might share in His Kingdom eternally.
Blessings and prayers,