October 2, 2011
27th Sunday of Ordinary Time A
By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ
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? Isaiah 5:3-4
"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. Philippians 4:8-9
"Did you never read in the Scriptures: 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
Our piety is what we have to show forth in our lives for the goodness of the Lord to us. Consolations make our service of the Lord easy. In love with the gifts of the Lord we can do good work and we have a lot to show to our world. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. When we are in consolation we do good work. When we are in desolation, the going gets tough and our love for the Lord as Lord shows itself. What we do in consolation reveals how much we love the gifts of the Lord. The harvesting is easy. When we are in desolation, the going shows our love for the Lord as Lord. It is much too easy to kill the messages of the Lord. Laziness, selfishness, comfortableness, pride, anger lust can reduce our good intentions to idle dreams. Prayer, fasting and good works can tune us in to what the Lord is asking of us in the harvesting of his gifts to us. The graces of the Lord come to us in the work we have a chance to do for the Lord. How the work we do builds up the kingdom of God is the test. What we have to show for our lives shows itself in our good works. Our good works do not happen by accident. They are the results of the decisions we make in our study of the possibilities of service to the Lord.
Spiritual reading is not the only one way to study the harvesting of God’s graces in our lives. We look at what others do and see what is possible to do with what we have to work with before us. The cross of Christ is carried in all the difficulties of our lives. We can learn how to rejoice in our suffering by our love of Christ and his cross. The Cross of Christ is the most magnificent expression of God’s love in human form. Even as we take the place of Christ on the crosses of our lives, we learn that the difficulties we have to put up with in doing the work of the Lord temper our effectiveness and give us a rich and plentiful harvest when we do our best no matter how heavy the cross is. Success is not the measure of our harvest. How much love we bring to our work and how lovingly we give ourselves to each other is the measure of our harvest.
We make hay while the sun is shining. Consolations can be stored in our spiritual journal and referred to when the Lord seems distant. When we do not think we have a good harvest and give to the Lord the extra in our efforts and in how hard we work for him, the world is changed by our carrying our crosses in his name. We fill up what is wanting to the sufferings of Christ’s Church in this day and age when the Church is suffering defections and mockery. The work we do at harvesting the graces of the Lord brings new harvesters to the vineyard. We give the best of ourselves to Christ when we do the best we can at our jobs. Christ lives in us even as we die with him in our suffering. We become the harvest of the Lord.