Sep 26, 2020

Cover and Move

The vineyard figures a lot in the parables of Christ. It provides the environment where the Kingdom of God takes root and the drama of salvation unfolds. There in the vineyard, the work is hard, patience is essential, the wages, as we saw last week, (Mathew 20) are unpredictable. The vineyard can also be a dangerous place to work. Scuffles between workers can erupt (Mark 9:33), and even blood is spilled (as next week's Gospel passage will show us, Matthew 21:33-43). "Go out and work in the vineyard" (Matthew 21:28). Our immediate attitude to such an invitation when we see the big picture is a certain reluctance. “You want to send me into the vineyard, into the midst of the storm, the conflict, battle, and bloodshed and even at the risk of my own life? (cf. Acts 13:46)

They say that attitude is everything. Consider then, the two attitudes in the Gospel when both sons are asked to work in the vineyard. (Matthew 21:28-32).  Why do they both have second thoughts? What is it about the vineyard of the Lord that reactions to working it are often mixed? Maybe it’s a bit like the wanting to take a first step, but afraid you might fall. Accepting a challenge but worried you might fail. Going into battle, but afraid you might get injured. Or, wanting to start something new but afraid you’ll get easily bored. 

As if to tease us, Our Lord reminds us that many tax collectors and harlots had no reluctance to accept His invitation to believe in His Sacred love and Divine mercy by repenting of their lust for creature comforts in whatever form or shape. 

But if we come to our senses, like the prodigal son (Luke 15: 17) and see in a moment of resistance or indecision an opportunity for grace, then a door is opened to a change of attitude. And what type of attitude? St. Paul provides the answer in the Second Reading when he tells us “Have in you the same attitude that is also in Christ Jesus..” (Phil.2). 

In other words, an attitude that reflects Christ is the attitude of a Christian. It is marked by being configured to Christ in such a way that His life, death and resurrection becomes yours and mine. This is not an intellectual journey or a symbolic re-alignment. In the Holy Mass a “portal” is opened up for us and, like the invitations given to the two sons in the Gospel parables, we too are invited through - through the gateway of the sacraments, first Confession and Reconciliation, and then Holy Communion with God. 

Only when I have faith in the command of the Lord and trust that He has me covered, do I dare move, step by step into the forever changing and unpredictable landscape of the vineyard of the Lord. 

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mental Fatigue

The Sunday Gospel (30th Week in Ordinary Time) once again reminds us of Christ’s instruction to Love the Lord our God with everything we hav...