A friend of mine was one of Australia’s leading wine makers. Four Sisters is known to many but one of his finest wines was Mt Langhi Shiraz. In my mind’s eye I can still see part of the vineyard where the Shiraz grapes grew. I can see the mesh that covered vast areas of the vines to protect them from marauding parrots. He cared for the vineyard because without that there would be no quality wine to bring joy into the celebrations that people like us hold from time to time or just enjoy a wine at the end of trying day.
The image of the vineyard was a favourite of the prophets as they reminded the leaders and the people who they were and what their mission from God was. The project was long term one. Beginning with Abraham around 1850BC in present day Iran God formed a people through whom the true nature of the divine and the true nature of humanity would be known and embraced. From time to time the people and their leaders forgot the mission and gloried in who they were by themselves. Then they would suffer some major catastrophe such as military defeat and subsequent deportation of the leading people into exile. Given their understanding of themselves as a mission created people they interpreted these dramas as God reminding them who they were. If they were the vineyard loved by God then on these occasions the protecting hedges and walls were demolished and animals and strangers could wreak havoc.
Jesus continues in the same way challenging the leaders of his day to think again about the judgment they were making of him. The words of Jesus to them were that God’s wine production plan would succeed but would those in charge of the vineyard still be in charge as the wine flowed. Jesus himself with his outlook on God and life was the yardstick, the corner stone, that would ensure the best quality product, What flowed from those people who lined themselves up on Christ would be free of the impurities of self-interest, maliciousness, greed, cruelty.
At every celebration of the Eucharist we are offered bread transformed by the Spirit that makes all holy. We are offered the chalice and as we drink from the cup of salvation we know whose blood flowed so that we could be free. Saints like Maximilian Kolbe offered themselves to die in place of others and in acting like this they did no more than walk the same road Jesus walked. That same spirit is in us. Remember the words Paul spoke: fill your minds with everything that is true, everything that is noble, everything that is good and pure, everything that we love and honour, and everything that can be thought virtuous or worthy of praise.
I shall be away from the parish until the weekend of 8-9 November. Even physically absent know you are in my prayers and in my heart as you continue to make Christ present in all the nooks and crannies of your lives. For those at school, it is the last term of 2014. Study well. Especially I pray for the year 12s that all the exams reflect well the effort you have put in.
Fr Adrian Farrelly
|Oct 20, 2014
|27th Sunday in Ordinary Time 05.10.2014