Homily Twenty-seventh Sunday Year A Right response to God's blessings

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Homily Twenty-seventh Sunday Year A

Reading 1: Two weeks ago, we heard in the First Reading: “My thoughts are not your thoughts. My plans are not your plans.” The prophet Isaiah specifies in this reading how this was true at the time in the relationship between God and his chosen people, Israel. God gave Israel the land of promise, provided for its needs, protected them from their enemies and established a covenant with them.

What did the people, over time, do in turn? They broke the covenant, but expected God to be faithful. They acted unjustly towards one another, but expected God to show compassion and mercy to them. Instead of the fruit of love, there was violence and bloodshed. Instead of a heart relationship with God, there was merely lip service. They trusted in others rather than God. Instead of a fruit of friendship and obedience, right relationship and respect, they only produced the sour grapes of rebellion, hardness of heart, double standards, trusting in political alliance rather than the covenant.

What were the ultimate consequences of their actions? Their enemies overcame them; they were exiled; they lost their inheritance promised and given them.

What is our reality as a nation today? We began as a nation under God. We recognized the Ten Commandments as the foundation of our own laws. We sought what was right and good.  Now, God is taken out of the public sector and even attack in the private conscious of the individual. We too have double standards. We are not guided by the law of God. Our laws are enacted in such a way that they justify disrespect or they attack the individual’s rights to life, liberty and happiness.

Gospel: The song of the vineyard of the first reading is now applied by Jesus in the Parable of the vineyard in the Gospel. The vineyard is the people of God from whom God is looking for a response to his generous blessings post exile. Prophet after prophet had been sent, but the religious leaders rejected each. God has finally sent his Son, Jesus, with the same prophetic message: repentance and salvation. Jesus prophesied that they will kill him, like they did to the prophets before him, including John the Baptist.

Then Jesus asked “What should God’s judgment against this ungrateful people? They said that he will give the vineyard to others. And Jesus said and so it will be done.

Jesus sought to open the hearts of the religious leaders and the people to the message of God. They knew the truth but failed to see themselves as the ones who continue to reject the message of God.

What is God saying to us? How do we apply this word in our life today? Having received many blessings, what fruits are we bearing? If we are not bearing fruit, what could be the consequences in our life?

Reading 2. This reading helps us to look once more at our relationship with God against the background of those questions. There is much anxiety and fear today in many of our lives. There is the fear of a nuclear war. There is the anxiety of terrorists’ attacks and mass killings. There is the political stalemate in Washington over the health care issue. And so many others.

I can’t change what is happening outside of me and all around me, anything outside of my sphere of control. What I can change is my own thought focus.

What is Paul’s answer? Instead of anxiety, which focuses on me, focus on God in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving. In other words, turn back to the Lord. Look for his peace and his ways. So that in the end not only will we have the peace of God but the God of peace himself will be with us. Instead of anxiety, think about the positive possibilities: what is true, honorable, just, pure, loving, etc. In seeking to live a more virtuous life, our focus will change and the true peace of God will fill us interiorly.

 

 

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