27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 8, 2023
Reading 1 Is 5:1-7 Let me now sing of my friend, my friend's song concerning his vineyard. My friend had a vineyard on a fertile hillside; he spaded it, cleared it of stones, and planted the choicest vines; within it he built a watchtower, and hewed out a wine press. Then he looked for the crop of grapes, but what it yielded was wild grapes. Now, inhabitants of Jerusalem and people of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard: What more was there to do for my vineyard that I had not done? Why, when I looked for the crop of grapes, did it bring forth wild grapes? Now, I will let you know what I mean to do with my vineyard: take away its hedge, give it to grazing, break through its wall, let it be trampled! Yes, I will make it a ruin: it shall not be pruned or hoed, but overgrown with thorns and briers; I will command the clouds not to send rain upon it. The vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the people of Judah are his cherished plant; he looked for judgment, but see, bloodshed! for justice, but hark, the outcry!
Responsorial Psalm Ps 80:9, 12, 13-14, 15-16, 19-20 R. (Is 5:7a) The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel. A vine from Egypt you transplanted; you drove away the nations and planted it. It put forth its foliage to the Sea, its shoots as far as the River. R. The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel. Why have you broken down its walls, so that every passer-by plucks its fruit, The boar from the forest lays it waste, and the beasts of the field feed upon it? R. The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel. Once again, O LORD of hosts, look down from heaven, and see; take care of this vine, and protect what your right hand has planted, the son of man whom you yourself made strong. R. The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel. Then we will no more withdraw from you; give us new life, and we will call upon your name. O LORD, God of hosts, restore us; if your face shine upon us, then we shall be saved. R. The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.
Reading 2 Phil 4:6-9 Brothers and sisters: Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you.
Alleluia Cf. Jn 15:16 R. Alleluia, alleluia. I have chosen you from the world, says the Lord, to go and bear fruit that will remain. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 21:33-43 Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: "Hear another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey. When vintage time drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce. But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat, another they killed, and a third they stoned. Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones, but they treated them in the same way. Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, 'They will respect my son.' But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, 'This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.' They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?" They answered him, "He will put those wretched men to a wretched death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper times." Jesus said to them, "Did you never read in the Scriptures: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes? Therefore, I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit."
A Cornerstone of Grace
Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)
Copyright © 2020 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission. Source: mycatholic.life
Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes? Therefore, I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.” Matthew 21:42–43
The most amazing thing that has ever happened in this world is the death of the Son of God. It is amazing for many reasons. It’s amazing that God the Father allowed His Son to be brutally murdered by evil men. It’s amazing that the Son did not call upon the myriad of angels to stop His persecution. It’s amazing that Jesus spoke words of forgiveness from the Cross as His own mother looked on. But perhaps the most amazing aspect about this event is that from it, the gift of eternal salvation was made possible.
Only God, in His inconceivable wisdom and power, could bring forth the greatest good from the greatest evil. Nothing could be more evil than the brutal murder of the Son of God. And nothing could be more glorious than the transformation of that heinous act into the definitive act of salvation for the human race. Jesus was “the stone rejected by the builders.” But that rejected Stone was used by the Father to “become the cornerstone” of the new life of grace to which we are called.
The passage quoted above concludes the Parable of the Tenants, which outlines salvation history. The Father is the owner of the vineyard, which represents the people of Israel. The tenants were the religious leaders of the time who abused the prophets who were sent to gather the fruit of God’s Kingdom. The son is the Son of God whom the leaders of Israel killed under the misconception that killing Jesus would guarantee the continuation of their power. However, the true result was that they suffered their own destruction, and the murdered Son became the cornerstone of the Church and the source of new life.
Today, you are among the people to whom God has given charge of His new Vineyard, the Church. Of you, God demands an abundance of good fruit. Though the Church is entrusted to the pope, bishops and priests in a special way, it is also entrusted to the laity, each in their own way. Everyone must bear fruit for the Kingdom of God, and everyone will be held accountable for their stewardship.
Sometimes we can fall into the trap of thinking that we have little to offer. If we were the pope, a bishop or even a priest, we could do great things for God. And though that is true, it is no less true that everyone is capable of bearing an abundance of good fruit for the Kingdom. And God expects that of us all. If you doubt that fact in any way, recall again the undeniable fact that the Father used the greatest evil ever committed to bring forth the greatest good ever known. If God can bring forth new life from death, then He can certainly use you in powerful ways. In fact, the weaker you are and the more insignificant you feel, the more God can use you to produce good fruit.
Reflect, today, upon the glorious fact that if God can use his own suffering and death to bring salvation to the world, He can also use you in ways that are beyond your imagination. You might not become a famous evangelist. You might not succeed in some well-recognized ministry. In fact, you might even encounter much suffering, persecution, and hardship throughout life. Regardless of your own life situation, God desires to use you for great things and to bear an abundance of good fruit for His Kingdom. Commit to that mission, and allow God to use you as a cornerstone of His grace in this world.
My Lord and Cornerstone of the Church, You were rejected by the leaders of Israel and were killed in the most horrific way. Yet in Your glorious power, You transformed that evil into the greatest good. I give to You my weaknesses and pains, my talents and labors; I give to You my entire life. Please use me and help me to share in Your life so that, with You, I may also become a cornerstone of Your grace as You desire. Jesus, I trust in You.