God gave us life, a beautiful world, food, clothes, families etc. Our gospel asks us to pay back what is his due. “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s”. Lets confess ways we fail to serve the living God..
Recently I asked why TV saturates us with ads for tarot card while banning Christian ads. Are our values awry? If Christ came on earth, doubtless He’d be banned from TV by those who’d say: “why should we listen to this holy tramp, we have our own secular prophet who tell us what we want to hear”. Christ in his day met similar heart’s closed to God, and it caused him great anguish. He saw a people wide open to the wolves of evil as a result, sheep without a shepherd. There were such wolves in our day too. Hitler said we must kill God and follow our will to power beyond any divine code of good and evil. The result was hell. But is that society’s creed now too? No God please! We’re European. The result inner emptiness, no live-giving fruits of faith, goodness and truth. Christ cried when his own shut him out; he may be crying now too. For He still expects justice but finds only bloodshed; many render all to Caesar and nothing to God.
Yet that eternal king gave the vineyard of the world to us, expecting just return. Instead we abuse the earth, ban his servants, and kill his Son’s voice lest we be forced to change. Christ addressed the vineyard parable to an errant people; but its a parable for our time too. Not to frighten but to shock us into seeing He is our real happiness here and hereafter. Modern tenants of the world, just as greedy and self-centered as of old, are fools not to heed His voice from the cross of total love. But I fear that if Christ came today, he’d not only not be listened to but be aborted in the womb as the child of a single mother. This is not enlightenment but spiritual and racial suicide.
Which brings me to the other theme of this Sunday, pro-life. John Paul 11 described the modern west as a culture of death. Certainly we seem to be dying spiritually and morally, an aging society killing the vulnerable in the womb and the old in their beds: “He expected justice but only found bloodshed, the cry of distress”; how true of our world where keeping global fat cats happy is also put before feeding the poor. Where the gap between them and the rich widens and money interests rule with impunity.
That is, we still labor under greed-driven godless tenants such as those of our gospel. But today their tyranny extends to killing innocent babes in the womb and justifying this evil for narrow selfish interests, for its happening mainly in the first world, that could afford many more children. But we face the consequences now in a top-heavy society; only for immigrants we’d be in a right quandary; there is a balance built into nature too. But we still shut out any challenge to this dominant ideology. The average age in the western world is 45 now, that in the Arab spring is 21. No wonder our vitality’s waning. No wonder we bring in more third-world youth to fill our armies and factories, and retirement age rises. Youth are real riches. That’s why the church asks for generous fertility, not to oppress but to promote demographical balance and natural fruitful life. But I’m sure if God sent Christ now to preach such things he’d be killed again. The tenants who killed the son were judged. As our western tower of Babel totters in spiritual, moral and economic chaos is this a judgement? Perhaps not, He’s a loving merciful God; but it may be his way of shocking us into sense, into taking the gospel lesson, that fruitless greed is death, but he’s lord of goodness, truth and fertile life for happiness in this world and forever, amen.
So as God’s own charged with producing fruits of faith, goodness, and vital life in his vineyard world, we profess our faith…
Prayers of the faithful
And as the people of God, working in the vineyard of the world today as his tenants, lets pray to produce appropriate fruits..
For our Holy Father and all church leaders, that they may lead the world in proper care for it and all its peoples..
For civil leaders, may they promote respect for life, for justice and equality for all, and equal sharing of earth’s resources.
For youth, may they may be conscious of their responsibilities to God and all that’s good and true, and may they be his true and dutiful tenants, building up our world in faith and love..
For ourselves that in our homes, work places and community that we may pay our due respects to our loving Creator and Savior..
For the very young, the old, the sick and the vulnerable that through our loving nurture and care they may know the love and comfort and healing of God in their lives..
For the dead that having been good tenants of God’s vineyard the world they may, helped by our prayers, rise above their sins and come to the joy of the final great banquet in heaven..
And we ask all these prayers through Christ who is Lord of life, truth peace happiness and salvation forever and ever amen.
We all have vocational roles as cultivators of God’s vineyard the world. To do those well is part of our reason for being, and we can deeply influence others as we pass along, especially if we help others to spiritual light. As the song says “if I help somebody as I pass along then my living will not be in vain”. Lets all produce fruits of faith, good works and nurture of those around us in love and overflowing life, until we gain our eternal heavenly reward. We ask Mary to help us in this..