Greetings on this the Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: IS 5:1-7; PS 80:9, 12, 13-14, 15-16, 19-20; PHIL 4:6-9; MT 21:33-43
Note: This homily will be preached at the 7:30 AM Mass, Sunday, October 4th, 2020.
The Iroquois legend of the three plants is an interesting story.
This ancient practice prescribes a particular way to plant these crops in pattern of a tight formation.
You first plant the corn. Once the corn raises to about 4 inches above the soil you then plan the beans and squash in alternating points within a circle around the corn stalk.
The corn provides a climbing ladder for the bean vine. The squash provides protection from insect/animal pests and leaves shade upon the mound and holding moisture in the soil for the corn and beans.
Each planted according to the proper time. Each providing an essential component for a bountiful harvest.
All one need do is watch over the crops from the watchtower and keep the crop safe from thieves and large animals.
In our first reading today the psalmist sings the divine dirge of the destruction of his vineyard.
A song. He sings a song. It is an ancient practice to put the unspeakable into song so it can be spoken without the worst edges.
He recounts the poor condition of the crop and the wildness of the fruits.
How can this be since the vine master so carefully planted and created such a perfect environment?
The people of Judah are his cherished plants (corn, beans and squash).
Moses was the corn who brought the law upon which the beans (the people) grew leaning upon the stalk. The prophets were the squash who provided protection for the beans.
But all of it ruined.
The Lord looked for right judgment, but instead bloodshed!
The Lord looked for justice, but the outcry of the people reached the heavens.
Nowhere to be found
The gospel reading today speaks to the disbelief and greed of the tenants who had responsibility of the vineyard.
They do not expect the owner to return. When the owner’s son comes to gather the produce, they decide to kill him so as to acquire his inheritance. If a Jewish proselyte dies without an heir, the tenants will have final claim to the property. Of course murder is not a valid reason.
Jesus makes clear that although those who are ruining the vineyard and who will ultimately kill him, they are not in control. Their goals are not attainable. The vineyard will be assigned to a new set of tenants who will be loyal to the master. They will meet the violent end in similar way to those they abused. The vineyard has been given to us. We are members of the body of Christ would enlivens and illuminates us.
Tending A Garden
We are the new vineyard tenants. We are obliged to follow right judgement and act with justice.
The corn (Beatitudes), the beans (Church) and the squash (Canon) must be arranged properly and in the proper times/proportions.
We must be especially careful to balance the law as to be a supporting structure not an oppressive structure and the squash as to be a protective structure not a smothering structure.
The stone that has become the corner stone.
Peace be with you,