HOMILY FOR 27TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR A.
By Rev. Sylvanus Amaobi.
HOMILY THEME: Dear brothers and sisters, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).
(1st Reading, Is. 5:1-7; 2nd Reading, Phil. 4:6-9; Gospel, Matt. 21:33-43)
Isaiah uses the imagery of a vineyard to represent the people of Israel and God. In the story, the owner of the vineyard did everything right for his vineyard. He spaded it, cleared it of stones, planted the choicest vines, built a watchtower, and hewed out a wine press. He expected a bountiful yield and good grapes but was disappointed. Instead, he got wild and sour grapes from his vineyard.
In this depiction or representation, God is the owner of the vineyard. The vineyard of the Lord of hosts and the cherished vine is the house of Israel and the people of Judah whom God rescued from slavery in Egypt. He did several other wonderful and marvelous deeds for them. God expected the house of Israel to be faithful to His covenant. He expected social justice and love for the poor, the oppressed, the widow, the orphan, and the downtrodden. But instead, He got exploitation, oppression, indifference, infidelity, hatred, false accusations, and bloodshed from the people. The yield was really only wild and sour grapes.
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In the Gospel, Jesus tells a parable of a landowner who planted a vineyard, leased it to tenants, and went on a journey. When it was time to obtain his produce, the tenants refused to give an account of their stewardship. Instead, they tortured, maimed, and killed the servants sent to obtain the produce. Finally, they even killed the son of the landowner, who would be the heir to the inheritance. The landowner was so disappointed with the tenants. He withdrew the lease from the tenants who were not accountable and gave it to other tenants who would give him the produce at the proper time.
We are the new Israelites. Our story is not different from the story of the Israelites of Isaiah’s era. God had been good to us. He had done some remarkable, miraculous, and marvelous deeds amongst us. He has given us various gifts and expects us to work with them for His glory and honor. Like the Israelites of old, we have been disappointing the Lord and fallen short of expectations. Also, like the ungrateful tenants in Jesus’ parable, we have not given an account of our stewardship with the gifts God entrusted to us. We are in the habit of thinking that the gifts we have are products of our ingenuity, forgetting that we are only custodians.
We surely do not want the kingdom to be taken away from us and given to other people who will produce fruit. Neither do we want our gifts to be taken away. Therefore, let us follow the advice of St. Paul. 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, let us think of those things and do those things. By so doing, we will yield good and bountiful fruits deserving of the Lord.
Always remember that Jesus loves you!
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