(Sunday XXVII OT — A) The Parable of the Wicked Tenants

The liturgy for the 27th Sunday gives us a combination of Isaiah’s Vineyard Song and Matthew’s "Parable of the Wicked Tenants". A paragraph from the Catechism of the Catholic Church can help us reflect on theme of the Sunday liturgy. Read it and try to capture the resonances of the biblical passages echoing through its lines.

The Church is a cultivated fiield, the tillage of God. On that land the ancient olive tree grows whose holy roots were the prophets and in which the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles has been brought about and will be brought about again. The land, like a choice vineyard, has been planted by the heavenly cultivator. Yet the true viine is Christ who gives life and fruitfulness to the branches, that is , to us, who through the Church remain in Christ, without whom we can do nothing. (CCC 755)

Read the below articles and use the questions for this page as your guide for reflection:

1. In the Gospel parable (Matthew 21:33-46), we see the owner of the vineyard carefully building his vineyard. It is an image that echoes the first reading from Isaiah 5. That vineyard is the Church you belong to.

Reflect. The care and industry of the vineyard’s owner is an image of God’s providence. God takes care of his vineyard, expecting it to be fruitful. In its midst, he planted the choiced vine, Jesus Christ, from whom we draw our life through the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. How have you become fruitful in your life in the Church?

2. In Galatians 5:5, Paul makes a list of the fruits of the Spirit expected from those who live according to the Spirit:

the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, 
patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 
gentleness, self-control; 
against such there is no law. 
 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh 
with its passions and desires. 
If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 
Let us have no self-conceit, no provoking of one another, no envy of one another. 
(Galatians (RSV) 5:22-26)

Reflect. Use the above list as pointers for an examination of conscience.

3. In the gospel reading, Jesus tells his interlocutors that the kingdom of God will be given to a people who will make it their business to see to it that the owner of the vineyard would see the fruits he expects.

Reflect. The tenants — we — must make sure that the vineyard bears fruit. How have you contributed to the work of the Church, namely, evangelization?

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