October 5,2014: Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Care for God’s Creation in Celebration of the memorial of St Francis of Assisi on October 4th
The Lord Jesus is the prototype and foundation of the new humanity. In him, the true “likeness of God” (2 Cor 4:4), man — who is created in the image of God — finds his fulfilment. In the definitive witness of love that God has made manifest in the cross of Christ, all the barriers of enmity have already been torn down (cf. Eph 2:12-18), and for those who live a new life in Christ, racial and cultural differences are no longer causes of division (cf.Rom 10:12; Gal 3:26-28; Col 3:11).
Thanks to the Spirit, the Church is aware of the divine plan of unity that involves the entire human race (cf. Acts 17:26), a plan destined to reunite in the mystery of salvation wrought under the saving Lordship of Christ (cf. Eph 1:8-10) all of created reality, which is fragmented and scattered. From the day of Pentecost, when the Resurrection is announced to diverse peoples, each of whom understand it in their own language (cf. Acts 2:6), the Church fulfils her mission of restoring and bearing witness to the unity lost at Babel. Due to this ecclesial ministry, the human family is called to rediscover its unity and recognize the richness of its differences, in order to attain “full unity in Christ”. (431)
The Christian message offers a universal vision of the life of men and peoples on earth that makes us realize the unity of the human family. This unity is not to be built on the force of arms, terror or abuse of power; rather, it is the result of that “supreme model of unity, which is a reflection of the intimate life of God, one God in three Persons, … what we Christians mean by the word ‘communion‘”; it is an achievement of the moral and cultural force of freedom. The Christian message has been decisive for making humanity understand that peoples tend to unite not only because of various forms of organization, politics, economic plans or in the name of an abstract ideological internationalism, but because they freely seek to cooperate, aware “that they are living members of the whole human family”. The world community must be presented, over and over again and with ever increasing clarity, as the concrete figure of the unity willed by the Creator. “The unity of the human family has always existed, because its members are human beings all equal by virtue of their natural dignity. Hence there will always exist the objective need to promote, in sufficient measure, the universal common good, which is the common good of the entire human family”. (432) Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
First Reading: Isaiah 5:1-7
Psalm: 80:9, 12, 13-14, 15-16, 19-20
Second Reading: Philippians 4:6-9
Gospel: Matthew 21:33-43
Catechism of the Catholic Church
“At all times and in every race, anyone who fears God and does what is right has been acceptable to him. He has, however, willed to make men holy and save them, not as individuals without any bond or link between them, but rather to make them into a people who might acknowledge him and serve him in holiness. He therefore chose the Israelite race to be his own people and established a covenant with it. He gradually instructed this people…. All these things, however, happened as a preparation for and figure of that new and perfect covenant which was to be ratified in Christ . . . the New Covenant in his blood; he called together a race made up of Jews and Gentiles which would be one, not according to the flesh, but in the Spirit.” (781)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church: No references this week
We do not own our worldly vineyard, the space of humanity’s existence, only lease it from God who continually nurtures the depths of creation. Not ours to plunder, pluck the low-hanging fruit to feast upon, without participation in the struggles or trample the forests alive with sacred resources, but take care of the vines our lives are woven into, including attentiveness to the withering vines that could be easy to ignore. Where God’s mercy asks us to produce its fruit as remittance for our lease payment for the time we are blessed to live in the kingdom of God. . For living in the vineyard is not just about feasting on the goodness, but harvesting and sharing the abundance of grace. Fruits of justice and inclusion flowing from the forgiveness we have received, not harping on the frailties of sinfulness that break down walls of community into rubble of animosity.
Leasing the vineyard may seem a hefty burden, with lots of questions. But God desires for us not to live with anxiety, but ground our journey with prayer seeking guidance and petitions acclaiming thanksgiving for living in the vineyard with an abundance of opportunity to bear fruit. Only then will the peace of God that surpasses all understanding reign in our lives. A guard for our hearts and minds in the mannerisms of Christ Jesus, where the paradoxes of faith uproot the worldly nuances of fear and hate, that are a drought inflicted on producing fruit. Prayer takes us beyond ourselves of asking for a litany of requests framed in self-conceived desires to know the benevolence of the vineyard owner, with attentiveness to detail in supporting our endeavors to produce fruit. A hedge offering a sense of security, but not a block wall to isolate us from the world. A wine press to process fruit for consumption. A tower for a glimpse of the broader horizon awaiting with opportunities and to see the connectedness to fields beyond to dispel the hopelessness of isolation. For in prayer, God draws from within us to a place of spiritual acuity towards whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, gracious—anything worthy of praise. To reflect, articulate in thoughts, words and the movement of our lives with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, prayer embraces us in unity with our God of peace. So we cannot see a homeless person as a bum, define an undocumented person as illegal or support violence as just, for prayer lets our possessiveness of the vineyard mold into a relationship of stewardship. A freedom in not owning and having responsibility for maintaining every aspect of the vineyard, but doing what God calls us to do. An essence of eternal fulfillment in producing fruit to share the bounty of the vineyard. A spirit of joy that God restores us, His face shines upon us and we shall be saved, so we can live and serve in a prayerful Spirit of forgiveness for past abuses of the kingdom, knowing the God of peace beckons us to a newness of life.
Individual Reflection: Psalm 80:9, 12, 13-14, 15-16, 19-20
Reflect on the fruits you are called to produce in God’s vineyard. How do you share them? How do you offer praise of thanksgiving in prayer for the opportunities to produce fruit?
Family Reflection: Matthew 21:33-43
Attend a Blessing of the Animals in celebration of the Memorial of St Francis.
October 7th is the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary.
“The Holy Rosary is very pleasing to Our Lady; she herself recommends it. There are two elements of the Rosary: meditation on its mysteries and vocal prayer. The most important and beauteous thing about the Rosary is its ultimate focus on Christ.” From Introduction to October 7th, Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary, Daily Roman Missal
Each day this coming week, pray the Rosary and be drawn into the mysteries. How do the mysteries support your journey? When do you petition Mary’s intercessions?…”Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners NOW….”
Blogs to Visit:
As we reflect upon Mary’s presence in the mysteries of the Rosary, we are blessed to know her. For her journey, a timeless trek, calls us to surrender, continuing conversion, humbleness and justice now.
Weekly lectionary reflections, for faith sharing groups, parish bulletins, newsletters or personal prayer, from the synergy of the Word we hear and the rich tradition of Catholic Social Teaching.
Catholic Social Teaching offers seven principles for upholding life in our thoughts, decisions and actions.
How we do Catholic Social Teaching.
Creation sustainability ministry resources in the spirit of the St Francis Pledge.
List one or two upcoming events, legislative action alerts or social justice websites
By Barb Born September 19, 2014 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.