TWENTY-SEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Let me sing for my beloved
my love-song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; he expected it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.
And now, inhabitants of Jerusalem and people of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it? When I expected it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes?
And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down. I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and it shall be overgrown with briers and thorns; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.
For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the people of Judah are his pleasant planting; he expected justice, but saw bloodshed; righteousness, but heard a cry!
Psalm 80:8, 1-11-15, 18-19
You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it.
it sent out its branches to the sea, and its shoots to the River. Why then have you broken down its walls, so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit? The boar from the forest ravages it, and all that move in the field feed on it.
Turn again, O God of hosts; look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine, the stock that your right hand planted.
Then we will never turn back from you; give us life, and we will call on your name.
Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
Brothers and sisters:
Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people:
“Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.’ So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.”
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures:
‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes’?
Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom.
In Isaiah, we imagine the anticipation of the owner of the vineyard as he does all the right things to promise a fruitful harvest. The outcome is disappointing and it makes no sense except that the yield had been influenced by something outside of the owner’s control. The natural expectation was for good fruit but the vines produced fruit that was unusable. The Mosaic Law was not able to yield the good fruit on its own.
Jesus references the vineyard in the gospel parable. As the owner of the vineyard attempts to harvest the grapes, the tenants who have been put in charge are responsible for handing over the yield. Instead of stewarding the vineyard, the tenants claim it as their own and refuse to give the rightful owner his fruit. They mistreat the good servants (prophets) and kill the son (Jesus) in an attempt to overthrow the owner of the vineyard (God). Then they become subject to judgment.
In the letter to the Philippians we have a breakdown of the fruits that we are meant to manifest as we faithfully serve God in his vineyard. Prayer, supplication, thanksgiving, and peace that is greater than understanding. We arrive at this good fruit from thoughts that are true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, excellent and praiseworthy.
What then is our direction and our orders for today? “Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me [Jesus], and the God of peace will be with you.”