YEAR A: HOMILY FOR THE 27TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: LET NO ONE STOP YOU FROM REAPING THE HARVEST OF YOUR LABOUR.
BY: Rev.Fr. Peter Ekwebelem
HOMILY: Beware of wicked tenants. In life, you will often see those who work like wicked tenants in your life. Their main mission is to stop you from reaping the fruits and harvest of your labour. They have no good plans for your future, they will just use what you give to them, abuse it and pour out their ingratitude on you. Figuratively, tenants here depicts an ATTITUDE. To the work of salvation, there were figures who worked as wicked tenants, they had the attitude of disrupting the fruitfulness of evangelization by dealing with the messengers and messages of God. Lucifer worked as a tenant, and was thrown down. Lucifer was thrown out of Paradise and he in turn threw Adam and Eve out Garden Eden. The prophets at their own times had their own antagonists, yet God’s messages excelled. Christ had his own hard times, yet he conquered the tenants. Nothing can stop the spread of the gospel. The gospel is the seeds and the souls are the harvest. The accusers of our brethren have been thrown down (Rev.12:10).
In today’s gospel(Matt.21:33-43) we see the four categories of workers in the vineyard of salvation, the householder, that is the Master (God) who did the whole work of creation, the tenants who live at the mercy of the Master yet wicked and full of ingratitude, the servants the prophetic messengers whom the Master vested with the authority to harvest and safeguard souls for God, and the son (Jesus Christ) who legitimately inherits the property of the Father. With this parable, the history of our salvation has just been summarized.
In this scene, the tenants have little or no close relationship with the householder, the servants have some defined intimacy with the householder, while the son knows the heart of the Householder, the Father.
Whom do you work like, do you work like a tenant or like a servant? A good servant is that servant who takes the instruction from the Master and in turn work for the master with the heart and disposition of the Householder’s son. Christ is the son, and you must be like him so as to yield a rich harvest. That is why in the second reading of today (Philipians 4:6-9), Paul instructs the Philippians to do good things that radiate the light of Christ as he Paul has been doing. Hence the first reading (Is. 5:1-7) expresses how good and tasking it takes to build up a good thing. Do not be a destroyer but a builder. Do not scatter but gather. Do not discourage good but encourage good. Don’t be a darkness but a light. Do not suppress good but support good.
How do we often reject God? When we are ungrateful to God, when we desecrate holy persons,things and places, when one has no time for God, when one sees God as an enemy, when one is allergic to the word of God, stubbornness in particular disgusting sins. Shall we persist in sin that grace may abound? Of course not! (Rom 6:1). Some of the tenants that rejected the servants, messengers and messages of God were Sodom and Gomorah, the Israelites, Judas, Hophni and Phinehas, Pharaoh, may be me and you, etc. Cursed is that person whose heart reject God, he is like a barren bush in the desert that enjoys no change of season, he is just a waste, but blessed is that man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is in the Lord, he is like a tree planted beside the waters, that stretches out its roots to the stream; it fears not the heat when it comes; its leaves stay green; in the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruits. Oh that today you will listen to His voice, harden not your hearts, (Psalm 95:7-8)
Today many treat the servants of the most high God with cruelty, disdain, indifference and hatred. Touch not my anointed and do my prophet no harm(Psalm 105:15). Many Parishioners have disrespected or rejected their priests and even locked their churches. Priests have been insulted, assaulted, rejected, kidnapped, and even murdered. Sometime ago a priest was kidnapped and murdered in one of our dioceses, in the other diocese, a priest was shot dead. There are other traumatic happenings of barbaric treatments to the priests of God. Christ condemned such in today’s gospel. In the Church today, the priests could be seen as the servants, and the people of God, the tenants. It is safer and better to protect and pray for your priests than to maltreat them.
The earth is the Lord’s and all it holds, the world and those who live there (Psalm 24:1). This earth is the Vineyard planted by God, God himself made the earth rich with many good things, gave it protection and built a tower(the Church) which is the Church just to maintain a constant communication between man and God. God made Heaven His abode, made man His tenants on earth and to be in good touch with humanity sent His servants the prophets to Humanity from time to time to manure the hearts of man with the Word of God, but on most occasions, the messengers were persecuted and their messages (God’s commandment/Word) rejected. We could trace this from such charismatics leaders like Moses, Joshua, minor prophets, major prophets and other biblical prophets who preached and projected the Word of God to humanity, it wasn’t all that smooth for them for majority of them were persecuted by humanity – the tenants on earth. Christ himself, who is God and the Son of the Most High God was sent to humanity, but they rejected him(John 1:9-11), but to those who did accept Him (Christ), he gave power to become Children of God (John 1:12). Christ is the stone rejected, the Word of God rejected by the hearts of men, but He has become the corner stone. He as the corner stone will judge everybody both those who rejected and accepted Him. But there is no condemnation/judgement for those who believe in Him (Rom. 8:1).