Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:
October 5, A.D. 2008
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Psalm 80:9, 12, 13-14, 15-16, 19-20
A reflection on today's Scripture:
Thirty years ago, I had the privilege of visiting Assisi.
I'll never forget the rich panorama of fertile vineyards that surrounded the town from the valleys below. No wonder God used the image of a vineyard in describing the chosen people of Israel. In today's first reading, Isaiah describes how his friend, God, went to elaborate pains in constructing his vineyard, with ditches and a tower for protection, and a winepress for squeezing out the precious grape juice that would become delicious wine.
How disappointed God was, when all that the vineyard produced were wild grapes, unfit for a good yield. All that work and loving care came to nothing! While Isaiah wrote, the Assyrians were pounding at the gates of Jerusalem, about to destroy it, as God promised to tear down that vineyard and let it revert to pasture land.
Jesus in the Gospel uses that same image of a vineyard to describe Israel, but now he focuses in on the unfaithful people who, by their sin and failure to listen to the prophets, have brought God's anger down on them. Jesus' reference to the killing of the King's only Son was not lost on the Pharisees. They had already decided to kill this Jesus who claimed to be the son of God. Jesus' words enraged them, and their hearts were further hardened against Him.
There is an axiom in law which states that the greater the person offended, the greater the offense itself. Since God himself was the victim, the offense against Him was beyond measure. In addition, while the Pharisees reject Him from hardness of heart, Jesus Himself is wounded beyond measure with a broken heart. We will never understand the immensity of God's love for us. To offend the Lord is worse than any possible offense given to human beings, whether a President or a homeless person.
Our response today should be a resolve to produce better and more abundant fruit in our surroundings. Recently, our diocese celebrated the Year of St. Paul. A former beloved bishop gave the homily. We became so aware that, like God, bishops have human hearts that can be encouraged by the response of their flocks. They can also have their hearts broken by a lack of response, as Jesus' heart was. As we have been so beloved and appreciated by our bishops, their love should encourage us to work ever more fruitfully in our particular part of God's vineyard.
- Msgr. Paul Whitmore |
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lives of the saints:
Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
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