The Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
In today’s passage of the Holy Gospel, Jesus offers what is called an “allegorical parable.” An allegory is a method used in literature and art to suggest a meaning that is not literal. When a character in a story is considered allegorical, it most often symbolizes a “type of person.” Scripture scholars tell us that in today’s Gospel story the landowner is God, the vineyard is Israel, as God’s special people, and the tenants are the political and religious leaders of Israel. The story emphasizes the failure of the tenants, the Chosen People of God and their leaders, and us to produce fruits of righteousness, justice and mercy. In this story, Jesus really gives us a picture of Israel’s history (and ours!). It is a history of gross ingratitude. Through the parable, Jesus reminds us Christians of today that, since we are the “new” Israel, enriched with the Good News of Jesus, we are expected to show our gratitude to God by bearing fruits of the kingdom, fruits of the Holy Spirit, in our lives. Jesus has great expectations for us…those of us who call ourselves followers of “His Way.” Of course, each of us needs to answer for him/herself…are we coming close to what Jesus hopes for us…what kind of fruit do we as a parish community produce (is it sweet or sour) …how do we value all that God has given us…are we grateful or are we like the ungrateful tenants who acted as if they owned everything that had actually been given to them by God…do we practice justice…do we remember to show mercy as God shows mercy to us…is our parish a real sign of Jesus’ presence and love…what kind of impact do we have on one another…do we measure the quality of our parish by what happens during Mass, or on what happens when we leave church? Whew….this is a lot to think about…and a lot to answer for! Think about it! A lady answered the door to find a man standing there. He had a sad expression on his face. “I’m sorry to disturb you” he said, “I’m collecting money for an unfortunate family in the neighborhood. The husband is out of work, the kids are hungry, and their utilities will soon be cut off. Worse yet, they’re going to be kicked out of their apartment if they don’t pay the rent by this afternoon.” “I’ll be happy to help,” said the woman. Then she asked, “But who are you?” He replied, “I’m the landlord!” GOSPEL QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Do you recognize your talents and abilities as gifts of God?