27th Sunday (Note & Bulletin)

One of the most important things Sr Beverley showed me in Jamaica was to try to be faithful to people no matter what. Sr Beverley was in charge of St Anne’s outreach to the poor. Whatever was donated or begged would be given to those in most need. When Sister had things and was able to give, she would receive thanks and often a statement of affection, such as, “Love ya Sister.” Those times, however, when she didn’t have anything, some would yell at her and call her bad names. It would be easy and tempting to “write-off” such people, to say to oneself that they’ll never get anything because of how they’ve acted. But Sister would often apologize and try to joke with them, and when things came in, she would go and offer something to those who had earlier treated her badly. Sr Beverley showed me that the Christian life was not about popularity or even respect, but was about one thing only – Love. In this weeks’ Gospel, the Lord builds on a passage from the Prophet Isaiah and offers a parable that reveals God’s fidelity.

Isaiah speaks of a vineyard planted by God to yield grapes. The Prophet tells us, however, that it yielded wild grapes instead. Isaiah was criticizing the People of Israel for their sinfulness, the wild grapes stood for their sinful lives. As a consequence, Isaiah wrote that the vineyard would be destroyed. In the Gospel Jesus uses the same images as Isaiah and adds a bit more. He told the chief priests and elders that the landowner sent servants to the tenants at the harvest time. The servants were either beaten or killed. Finally, the owner sent his only son to the people. But he too was killed. Christ says that the “stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” The Lord seems to be saying that though some have turned their back on God, God continues to reach out to them, to be faithful to them.

I often think that we can be harder on ourselves than is right or justified. We think, in a way, that if we have moments of struggle, temptations or sinfulness that we have so let God down that God can only do one thing, namely, to give-up on us. And yet Jesus reminds us that God doesn’t give-up, for the Father sent his only Son. The “cornerstone” that Christ is speaking of is the Lord himself. We know that he will be rejected and crucified, that he will remain faithful to us no matter what. The “cornerstone” of our faith and our lives is Jesus Christ, the Incarnation of the merciful love of the Father.

The freedom we can experience as followers of Christ is the knowledge in our hearts that God is always faithful to us, that we cannot separate ourselves from his love. If one day I say or do something sinful, God does not write me off. Rather he remains our Father and we remain his beloved children. The foundation of who we are rests on Christ, who shows us the merciful love of the Father. We all have our fears, insecurities, sinfulness and doubts, and yet church, we are all loved by the Father in a way that “surpasses all understanding.” In a more intentional way, let us all look at ourselves in a way that we see both the good and those things we struggle with, and at that moment let us all say from our hearts, “I am the beloved of God and that can never be changed.”

God bless and take care!
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Weekly Parish Bulletin277.8 KB
Comments of the Holy See on the Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child158.69 KB
Vatican: UN Committee “A Sword Against Freedom of Religion” (CFam)36.93 KB

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