The Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time – year A – 8th October 2023
Lectionary Readings: Is 5 1:7; Ps. 79 (80):9. 12-16. 19-20; Phil. 4:6-9; Mt. 21:33-43
Theme: Do I bear fruit or not.
The gospel reading of today, Matthew 21: 33-43, is not only focusing on the Parable of tenants, but also giving us another dimension of reflecting upon it. This is not only a parable of forgiveness that shows merciful love and kindness but another reality of our Christian faith. For me as an ordinary faithful, this is one of Jesus’ challenging parables for all of us whether we are Religious or laypersons. He calls us to bear fruit for the kingdom of God or it shall be taken from us, just like the tenants of the vineyard. In layman’s terms, we must do his will or risk never knowing the magnificence of the kingdom of God (Heaven).
In this “tenants” parable, the Lord Jesus is revealing that though the religious leaders of his time rejected Him, He is the foundation of the Father’s temple or church of Christian believers. Many of the world’s inhabitants or wicked tenants have rejected servants (Prophets), God’s Son (Jesus) and have failed to work His vineyard. This is scary to think about. So as New Tenants (Disciples) of our time and our own lives, we are in danger of not bearing fruits like the wicked servant. Do I take care of this responsibility that God entrusted to me or am I also afraid to be rejected bythe society?
There was a religious man, in 2012 in Davao City, Philippines, who aimed to be part of the active contemplative community. However, some events were very challenging to his call. During the night he skipped out to his room and had some fun with his friend, going to parties, hiding relationships with others, etc. He went too late to prayer and fell asleep in front of the Tabernacle, and life as a religious person became more difficult for him. He thought everything was good and his secret life could be hidden forever, and that no one would know about it. Then he started to ask himself in front of the Tabernacle, what kind of fruit do I produce now and he started to cry.
The Lord Jesus has established his vineyard the Church and put it into our hands. The Lord Jesus pays us the compliment of entrusting us with his work, with what he values. He not only gives us a job to do but mysteriously puts the eternal salvation of other souls in our hands. He is also patient with our failures and wants us to bear good fruit.
We are called to be holiness, though without God this is impossible. Our mission is to serve others and live as best we can to bear good fruit. For me, this story is a reminder never to become a lazy Christian (Tenants). This can lead us astray from God and our humanity. Sometimes we need a reminder of what happens when we aren’t vigilant and always living for our fellow humans. This story is one of those reminders. Let this gospel light a fire in your heart to do more than you are doing because our work is never done: so let’s bear a good fruit.
For Reflection and Discussion: 1. Do I bear fruit? It is Good or Bad? Do I reject the servants of God? What must be done? 2. Reflect and Share stories of the types of fruit you bear in your life that you can give to God as a gift being the New Tenant (disciples).
Bibliography: McKenzie, J.L. Dictionary of the Bible (New York: 1965), http://gcatholic.org/Catholic Study Bible (Senior D.)
This week’s Sunday Liturgy Commentary was prepared by
Dunhill Malunar Timkang, Israel, Bat Kol Alumnus: 2023