On the Road Together for October 7&8
For October 7&8, 2017
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds
in Christ Jesus.
Director of RCIA
Having early-elementary aged children, I have become fascinated with the process of learning how to read. I am amazed at the teachers who have such a gift and patience for teaching young readers. Not having that patience, I often laugh at myself and my growing inner frustration as I try to help my children learn how to read. In many of the early reader books, the same word is repeated over and over again. Halfway through the book I often marvel, in a frustrated way, at how ten times in, the reader still isn’t able to know what that word is. Gradually, with some tenacity, he starts to get it, and then before you know it, he has become a reader! It is truly amazing to witness!
In our Christian lives, we are like the emerging readers. The story of our process of coming to know God is sometimes like that. We get the same “words” in many different forms over and over again. Many times in, we still do not get it, but we hope and pray that finally we will. Then we try to be faithful to that love and wisdom we have come to know, even in times of unexplained violence and doubt.
In our Gospel this weekend, Jesus is telling the Pharisees a parable about a landowner who owns a vineyard and leases it out. At vintage time, the tenants do not give him his produce, so he sends his servants, and the servants are killed. He then sends more servants: the tenants kill them, too. Thinking that for sure they would never harm his own son, the landowner sends his son to see about getting the produce from the harvest. To no surprise to the reader, they kill his son, too, in hopes of getting the inheritance. This parable is an allegory for God sending his only Son, and the rejection of him by many, even to the point of killing him. What will it take for those leasing the vineyard to get it?
At first glance, we might think the decisions of the landowner are ludicrous. Why on earth would he keep sending people when those leasing the land are killing them? And then, the height of insanity, he even sends his son, who is killed as well? Yes, this landowner is certainly crazy. As we allegorize the parable, the landowner is God and God has reached out in love to us in so many ways – cultivating the vineyard, sending his prophets to help us stay on track, and then even sending his only Son to us. And even after he is crucified and killed by us, God still reaches out again in Christ raising from the dead and being with us always. Crazy? Well, I would say that surpasses our understanding!
Like the emerging reader, we keep not getting it. The “words” of truth, wisdom and love comes to us in many different ways over and over again. Like the Israelites who would not heed the prophet Isaiah’s warnings and like those who yelled “Crucify him,” we reject God’s word in big and small ways. It comes to us undeserved. It comes to us even in the midst of such violence and sin. It comes to us among repeated failures to accept it. It keeps on coming to us. The landowner might be crazy to think we will ever be able to “read.” But our Christian hope is that for us, for everyone, we come to know this God who keeps at it. And then, we can be faithful to what that knowing calls forth from us. Truly, our hope is that “the peace of God, that surpasses all understanding will guard [our] hearts and minds in Christ”(Philippians, 4:7).
Keep on doing what you have learned
and received and heard and seen in me.
Then the God of peace will be with you.
Readings for Mass, October 7&8:
Sent by Beverly Aviles on Thursday, October 5 at 10:00AM