We must put our trust in love; we cannot own it

October 11, 2014 at 1:32 pm Leave a comment

Lectio Divina: 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

By Monsignor Francesco Follo

PARIS, October 03, 2014 (Zenit.org) –

Roman Rite – XXVII Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A – October 5, 2014

Is 5, 1-7; Ps 80; Phil 4.6 to 9; Mt 21.33 to 43

Ambrosian Rite – Sixth Sunday after the martyrdom of St. John the Precursor

Job 1.13 to 21 Ps 16; 2Ti 2.6 to 15; Luke 17.7 to 10

1) Fruits of love.

The passage of today Gospel opens with the image of the vineyard that is used often in the Old Testament to indicate the kingdom of God, his people or even a beloved woman. The connection with the first reading, Isaiah’s “canticle of the vineyard” (5, 1-7) that poetically describes all the care and attention that God has for his people, is clear. God expects fruits from his beloved people but the latter doesn’t provide them. Isaiah’s image of a passionate God, who does for each of us what no one ever will, is beautiful. He is a farmer God that, as every farmer does, dedicates to the vineyard more heart and more care than to any other field. God has for each of us a passion that no disappointment puts off, that is never short of wonders and that after each of our refusal restarts to besiege our hearts.

Before anything else and before any action, let’s rest in this experience of feeling to be a beloved vineyard and let ourselves be loved by God. Each of us is nothing more than a tiny vine, however God does not want to give up on anyone of us.

The fruit that God expects is like that of the vine. If every tree cares only for itself and only to reproduce, it would be enough to produce seeds every few years, just one fruit. Instead, every autumn, there is an abundance of fruits, a magnificent generosity offered to all, to men, to small insects, to the earth. The bounty of nature is a model for the human heart.

Isaiah, in this his canticle, says that it is a story that cannot continue indefinitely. A judgment (Is 5, 3) is needed. Punishment is required: the vineyard will fall into ruin, it will no longer be cultivated and briers and thorns will grow there. But the punishment of God is never forever. God’s threats are to convert, not to destroy.

Jesus in his parable quotes few sentences of the “canticle of the vineyard” of Isaiah, where the great Prophet describes in depth the history of the people of Israel for whom God cares with faithful love. Jesus states that the main issue is not the production of fruits more or less good, but the will of the tenants to take the vineyard from the Lord. The farmers do not want to recognize the owner. This is their sin. They behave as if the vineyard belonged to them. When they kill the Son1 of the Master, they 1 It is not surprising that this way of doing reproduces a real situation at the time of Jesus and even after, until the 70s or so. The hilly region of Galilee was largely made up of large estates, purchased by foreign owners who rented them out to individuals or organized groups of tenants. The latter, according to the contract, had to deliver a certain part of the crop to the master, who, because was living far away, normally sent his trustees to collect it. It show it clearly: they want to be heirs and masters. But by rejecting the Lordship of God, they reject the cornerstone, the one who makes the world stand. Without the recognition of God, the world doesn’t stand and coexistence is shattered.

If we were to put ourselves into the bitter and violent logic of the tenants, we would repeat their senseless and brutal words: “This is the heir, come, let us kill him and we will get the inheritance.” If we were to give heed to this response crude and brutal, we would continue the harvest of blood which reddens the world. If to Christ’s question “What will the owner of the vineyard do after the killing of his son? “our response would be similar to the solution proposed by the Jews, we would have a quintessential punishment, new tenants, new taxes, but an old world. This idea of justice would bring things a step back, before the crime, keeping intact the unchanging cycle of give and take, or more precisely, of claim.

Jesus gives an answer that opens the heart to hope: the outcome of the story will be good, the vineyard will be generous with fruits, and the Lord will not waste in revenge the days of eternity. The kingdom of God will be given to a people so that they produce a fruit that is love and stands as the cornerstone, the guarantor of steady love.

Like living stones, we are called to be the living Church of Christ. Like branches we must adhere to Him who is the vine. We will then live in love and by love, being loved and loving the Lord. God does not give up and offers a new way to reach a love free and irrevocable, the fruit of that love, the true grapes: He sends his Son, who becomes man. God himself becomes the root of the vine,

He becomes the vine and the vine becomes indestructible. The people of God cannot be destroyed because God has entered into the ground, He is implanted in it. The new people of God is founded in God, who becomes man, calls us to be in Him the new vine and to be and to remain in Him.

2) The joy of love

What is the purpose of the vine? To bear fruit, to give the precious gift of grapes and good wine. The wine is the symbol and the expression of the joy of love. The Lord has chosen his people to have the answer of his love, and so the image of the vine has a nuptial meaning. The vine is an expression of the fact that God is looking for the love of his creature and wants to enter into a relationship of love, in a spousal relationship with the world through his chosen people.

Unfortunately, the history of the people of God is a story of infidelity. Instead of precious grapes only small “things inedible” are produced. Instead of “remaining” in the communion of love, man withdraws inside his egoisms and wants to have himself, God and the world only for himself. The happened also that, taking advantage of the absence of the owner, the peasants rebelled and refused to honor the contract. Not only that, but there could also be acts of violence against the collectors sent from the lords that were very powerful but also lived far away. In Jesus story, given the failures his delegates, the master send his son, his heir, trusting in His authority. The tenants act more viciously, killing him. Again, there is a true background: according to the law of the time a farm, if the owner died without heirs, passed into the hands of the first who occupied it. vineyard is devastated, the wild boar of the forest and all the enemies come and the vineyard becomes a desert.

The Will of God is not that of an owner who wants to be paid the rent and demands the death sentence of the men that killed his son. He does not want a vineyard that produces grapes of blood and bitter tears, but grapes sun-ripened by the love of his truth and full with the light of his love that springs from the heart of the Son. The Son who died on the cross and that is “the stone which the builders rejected” becomes “cornerstone,” the foundation of everything.

What more could the Lord have done? God has loved to the extreme sign: He so loved the world that He sent His Son giving him to death on a cross. As St. Paul says, on the cross Jesus “loved me and gave himself entirely to me.” This is the wonderful work of the Lord. The resurrection of Christ becomes the foundation and the beginning of each new life. It is the rematch, the victory of love.

To understand this divine logic, we should not cry so much on our infertility as shoots detached from the vine, but on the remembrance of the divine love that we betray. The tenderness of God and his gentle way of doing as divine Lover are the source of our joy.

Let’s give thanks from the bottom of our hearts to the One who said: “I am the vine and you are the branches that I make fruitful”. Let’s humbly ask him to grant us the grace to remain always united to Him in the everlasting mystery of dying and rising again and of the offering himself to the Father.

The consecrated Virgin in the world have offered and renew the offer of themselves “as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” (Rom 12, 1). With this offer, they attached themselves to Christ as the branches to the vine and their being with Christ is the secret of their spiritual fruitfulness.

These consecrated women in the world are, together with Christ, next to our brothers and sisters in humanity. Humanity is the field in which Jesus sends them, intended to be, like Him,” in the things of the Father.”

These women are called to testify in a particular way the richness of the fruit that is generated by the fact of being with Jesus and like him in the things of the Father, in his will and in his salvific plan of love. Living and working in the world, they are called to live and witness the harmony between inner being and life. The habit of life with the Lord pushes them to go beyond what they are and to open to the dimension of love. For the consecrated women the moving words of Jesus: “Abide in me … abide in my love” (Jn 15, 7.9.) are the key to build an authentic spirituality, from the Love they receive to the love they give.

Calling them to virginity, the Lord did not take them away from anyone. The greater their union with Him grows, the greater become the resources to do their own gift to the brothers. These are resources of a love that reaches out to people even through the mysterious ways of the spirit.

Belonging to God is always a gift to the neighbor. Virginity does not deprive the woman of her prerogatives as wife and mother. It is with a ‘bride’s heart that the woman consecrated to Christ turns to the brothers. If it were not so she would be like a branch cut from the vine. Paul says, “Our qualification comes from God” (2 Cor 3, 5).

It is with the heart of a mother that the consecrated woman lives the spiritual motherhood in many forms. In her life, according to her own ability, she expresses a motherly “concern for people, especially for the most needy: the sick, the handicapped, the abandoned, orphans, the elderly, children, young people, the imprisoned, and, in general, people on the edges of society. In this way a consecrated woman finds her Spouse, different and the same in each and every person, according to his very words: ‘As you did it to one of the least of these (…), you did it to me’ (Mt 25:40) “(Saint John Paul II, Mulieris dignitatem, 21).

It is a motherhood that, as it was for Mary, comes to us as a gift and is the beginning of something new. It is God’s answer to a gratuity of love that he himself has raised “to never leave the world without a ray of divine beauty to lighten the path of human existence” (Consecrated Life, 109).

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Entry filed under: Catechesis.

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