The Patience of God.
The Twenty-Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time 2020
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October 4, 2020
Ezekiel 18:25-28; Psalm 25; Philippians 1:2-11; Matthew 21:28-32
Ultimately, the parables we have been hearing over the past few weeks have been about the kingdom of God. We can find ourselves immersed in each of the stories, but they are designed to tell us something about God’s nature. In this instance, we see how patient God is with us, even though we mistreat God and the people around us.
The Scriptural references are clear that this is about Israel’s fate, as the nation is cast as God’s fertile vineyard. Ancient Palestine was a land that experienced many troubles and it was common practice for absentee landlords to let out his land to others who would stay and raise crops. The landlord would collect rents while living more comfortably in a land that was stable and had more peace. However, because of the unstable nature of landownership and the possibility of invasions, the tenants would often refused to pay the rent and would try to take possession of the lands that were not rightfully theirs. Most biblical people would recognize the regular occurrence of this pattern.
In this case, the vineyard is the people of Israel, the master of the vineyard is God; the tenants are the priests and rulers that have controlled the affairs of Israel, the servants that were sent and were treated violently were the prophets, and Jesus is the son who was killed. Behind this scenario, we notice God’s abiding care for the vineyard. For centuries, God pleaded with the people in the vineyard and they continually rejected God’s care. God sent prophets who were sometimes killed, and then he sent Jesus, His Son, who was to be rejected, killed, but would have ultimate triumph over the nation.
We see the God was not content with one invitation to the people, but issued innumerable ones. God gave the leaders chance upon chance to turn matters around and to mend their ways. We notice that God does not lash out or destroy, but God remains patient, even if it means that his most beloved creation is killed by our pride and privilege. Israel saw herself as the privileged nation, God’s chosen ones who had special protection, but her privilege got in the way of recognizing God’s Son. They closed their minds and hearts to the possibilities Jesus tried to show them.
We have many privileges in life: safe homes, freedoms protected by our Constitution, freedom of worship, families and society that has made sure we knew of our opportunities for a fulfilling life, and we can become blind to important matters in life when we use our privileges poorly, for selfish gains, for greed, honor or power. We can easily fall into the position of the vineyard tenants that killed the prophets and condemned Jesus if we misuse our privilege because it takes us away from the cries of the poor and the vulnerable, the heartaches and sufferings of those who are trying hard to get a fair shake in life, and for those who are deprived of privileges through our entrenched systems. When we think we know better, when we hold attitudes of superiority and presume we are all set and do not need anyone else’s wisdom, we are living with privilege. We have to hear. We have to listen to the stories people are telling us without rushing to negative judgments. We are a people who must stay open to the Word of God and to let our hearts be moved to care for our most vulnerable.
Let’s remember that the Israelites had their privilege taken away and was given over to the Gentiles. We now bear the responsibility of leading all people back to God, to evangelize to the frontiers of the faith that are not glamorous or glory-producing, and to expand our consciousness in caring for those who are suffering, but we might not recognize their pain. God is patient with us, and God has given us an enormous task, and I find this to be an awesome level of responsibility that God has entrusted to us. May God help us to be worthy of this mission. May God strengthen us.
Scripture for Daily Mass
Monday: (Galatians 1) I am amazed that you are so quickly forsaking the one who called you by the grace of Christ for a different gospel (not that there is another). But there are some who are disturbing you and wish to pervert the Gospel of Christ.
Tuesday: (Galatians 1) But when he, who from my mother’s womb had set me apart and called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, so that I might proclaim him to the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were Apostles before me; rather, I went into Arabia and then returned to Damascus.
Wednesday: (Galatians 2) After fourteen years I again went up to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also. I went up in accord with a revelation, and I presented to them the Gospel that I preach to the Gentiles– but privately to those of repute–so that I might not be running, or have run, in vain.
Thursday: (Galatians 3) O stupid Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? I want to learn only this from you: did you receive the Spirit from works of the law, or from faith in what you heard?
Friday (Galatians 3) Realize that it is those who have faith who are children of Abraham. Scripture, which saw in advance that God would justify the Gentiles by faith,
foretold the good news to Abraham, saying, Through you shall all the nations be blessed.
Saturday (Galatians 3) But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a disciplinarian. For through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
Monday: (Luke 10) “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
Tuesday: (Luke 10) Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
Wednesday (Luke 11) Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.”
Thursday (Luke 11) And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Friday (Luke 11) When Jesus had driven out a demon, some of the crowd said:
“By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons.”
Saturday (Luke 11) “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.” He replied, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”
Saints of the Week
October 4: Francis of Assisi (1181-1226) was from the wealthy Bernardone family who sold silk cloths. After serving as soldier as a prisoner of war, Francis chose to serve God and the poor. He felt called to repair God's house, which he thought was a church. His father was angry that he used family money so he disinherited him. He began to preach repentance and recruited others to his way of life. His order is known for poverty, simplicity, humble service, and delighting in creation.
October 6: Bruno, priest (1030-1101), became a professor at Rheims and diocesan chancellor. He gave up his riches and began to live as a hermit with six other men. They had disdain for the rampant clerical corruption. The bishop of Grenoble gave them land in the Chartreuse mountains and they began the first Carthusian monastery. After serving in Rome for a few years, Bruno was given permission to found a second monastery in Calabria.
October 7: Our Lady of the Rosary recalls the events in 1571 of the Christian naval victory over the Turks at Lepanto near Corinth. Victory was credited to Mary as confraternities prayed the rosary for her intercession.
October 9: Denis, bishop and martyr, and companion martyrs (d. 258), was the first bishop of Paris. He died during the Decian persecutions by beheading at Montmarte, the highest hill in the city. Lore has it that he picked up his head after the beheading and walked six miles while giving a sermon. Denis was sent to Paris to bring Christianity and was thereby called, “The apostle to the Gauls.”
October 9: John Leonardi (1542-1609), was a pharmacist’s assistant before studying for the priesthood. He became interested in the reforms of the Council of Trent and gathered laymen around him to work in prisons and hospitals. He contracted the plague while ministering to those who were sick. He founded the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God to care for the sick.
This Week in Jesuit History
· Oct 4, 1820. In Rome, great troubles arose before and during the Twentieth General Congregation, caused by Fr. Petrucci's intrigues. He sought to wreck the Society and was deposed from his office as Vicar General, though supported by Cardinal della Genga (afterwards Leo XII).
· Oct 5, 1981. In a letter to Father General Arrupe, Pope John Paul II appointed Paolo Dezza as his personal delegate to govern the Society of Jesus, with Fr. Pittau as coadjutor.
· Oct 6, 1773. In London, Dr James Talbot, the Vicar Apostolic, promulgated the Brief of Suppression and sent copies to Maryland and Pennsylvania.
· Oct 7, 1819. The death of Charles Emmanuel IV. He had been King of Sardinia and Piedmont. He abdicated in 1802 and entered the Jesuits as a brother in 1815. He is buried in San Andrea Quirinale in Rome.
· Oct 8, 1871. The Great Chicago Fire. Most of the city was destroyed, but it missed Holy Family, the Jesuit parish, as the fire turned north thanks to the prayers of Fr. Arnold Damen. The fire lasted three days; 250 were killed.
· Oct 9, 1627. Jansenius left Louvain for Salamanca to foment antipathy against the Jesuits and thus prevent Philip IV from giving the Society a large college in Madrid. The theological faculty at Salamanca were hostile to the Society.
· October 10, 1806: The first novitiate of the Maryland Mission opened as ten novices began their Long Retreat under the direction of Fr. Francis Neale (himself a novice who had entered the Jesuits that day.)