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Back The Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sunday, October 4, 2020
From the Desk of Fr. Ron…….
There are three parts to many local new stations’ broadcasts. The news, sports and of course, the weather. While the “news” and “sports” are rather declarative about what has happened. The “weather” however is a forecast about what quite possibly should have happened within the next day, few days or the week to come based on computer models of possibility.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus predicts His fate to His followers clearly and distinctly, three different times. His fate includes being arrested, tortured, killed and raised on the third day. The parable story that Matthew records and is proclaimed this weekend could be likened to a fourth prediction of His passion and death. But it is more than that. To understand its significance we have to back away from it and see it as part of the whole chapter 21 of Matthew’s Gospel.
Chapter 21 begins with Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem; a story we visit each and every “Palm Sunday.” Matthew then displays the story of Jesus “cleansing the temple” in Jerusalem, cursing the fig tree for looking good but producing no fruit, Jesus having his authority questioned by the chief priests and elders of the temple, and last week’s parable of the two sons. In each of these sections Jesus is seen sparring with the chief priests and elders. These messages are directed to them.
In this weekend’s parable of the Tenants, after Jesus reveals the actions of the tenants to the number of servants sent to them as well as the fatal use of violence to the owner’s own son, Jesus asks the question “What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?” (Matthew 21:40). Their logical answer seals the prediction of what is to happen; that “he will lease his vineyard out to others who will give him produce at the appointed time.”
Jesus brings home the point that He is the “stone rejected by the builders” meaning the chief priests and elders. But this “stone” will become the cornerstone; the most important one as He ushers in a new covenant with God’s people through His own death and resurrection.
This weekend’s message could be challenging to us all if we are convinced that we know and understand full well God’s will and intention within our lives. This type of false security closes our mind and will to the God of surprises.
The chief priests and elders of the temple had a good business going. They were safe and secure in their beliefs, in their roles in the religion of the time, and even in their compensated employment within the temple. The only event that could change that would of course be the coming of the Messiah. That would mess everything up. As the parable indicates and predicts the chief priests and elders of the people are the ones who hatch the plan to keep the status quo within the faith and eliminate the threat of the so called, Messiah.
As we navigate through these times of being the presence of Jesus in our world filled with the pandemic, our church dealing with the clergy abuse realities, as well as Chapter eleven reorganization let us not loose heart. God is not done with us yet. Let us be willing and able participants in God’s ever new and challenging will for us as we give witness to the Gospel of Jesus in today’s reality