Sunday, October 05, 2014

Produce its Fruit

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary time 2014 A

By. Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

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.  Isaiah 5:1B-2

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

Piety is the harvesting of the gifts of the Lord.  There are many gifts, but one giver of them.  How do we harvest our share of the mission of Christ?  Our sharing the good news of God’s love of us is what piety is all about.  It is the way we share ourselves with the needs of the community.  It is the giving of the essence of our lives back to the Lord.  It is not so much what we are doing as how much love we do it with and how we hold ourselves to the word the Lord puts on our hearts.  What we say we will do for the Lord is our contract with the owner of the vineyard. He calls us to work the harvest.  There is no short cut on paying off love of God because he has given us so much more than we could ever give back with adequate thanks.  God is always love.  Our piety is always challenging us to give more.  How we give our gifts to one another is how we love the Lord.  We can see God as worthy of all we do.  It is how we share with our neighbor that shows our piety before the Lord.  How can we love the God we do not see if we do not love the neighbor we do see?

We find the result of our study of needs around us pushes us in how effectively we give our gifts.  We study what is needed and stir up the love of our hearts to give more than is being asked.  If we only give what is asked, it is duty.  When we give more than what is asked, it is love.  We learn to be giving people by looking at the love of Christ on the cross.  He could have given up his life in carrying the cross, but rather pushed himself to go to the top of the hill to do what was asked.  His being nailed to the cross expresses his willingness to always love us no matter what.  We look at all that God has given us to discover what we should do.


Our actions speak louder than our words.  We try to give more than is being asked of us and we love more because we are trying to go beyond duty.  The return we can give to the Lord is the truth of our study being lived out as action.  Study is made up of a lot of words.  Action speaks louder than words because action lives on in the people we touch by our giving ourselves to their needs.  Our actions mean that we are more than a part of the problem; we are the solution when we go where God is leading us and do the best we can.  Our actions show that we are on the right road.  We are ready for the master of the harvest when he comes because we are good and faithful servants doing what is asked of us and giving even more than could be expected.  We give ourselves. 

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