The Fruits of the Kingdom
The first reading for the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Isaiah 5: 1-7) speaks of the failure of the people of Judah to be fruitful despite all of God’s effort.
The vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel,
and the people of Judah are his cherished plant;
he looked for judgment, but see, bloodshed!
for justice, but hark, the outcry!
When I read these words, I feel we must not allow ourselves as Christians to be complacent. Is not our violent messed up world the same as in the time of Isaiah?
Haven’t we allowed all the blessings and resources from God become wasted and misused for greed and power and hate? The prophet Isaiah could easily be talking about us. See – bloodshed! Justice – the outcry!
The Gospel (Matthew 21: 33-43) followed along the same lines. The beneficiaries of the landowner’s resources violently dismiss his patience and generosity, eventually murdering his son.
The chief priests and elders who listen to the allegory say that the landowner “will put those wretched men to a wretched death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper times.”
Can we not substitute our world for those “wretched men?” Has our world become so focused on greed and power and hate that we no longer deserve the title “Christian?”
The Las Vegas Massacre reminds us of how we have so lost our way so badly in this world. What kind of fruit are we producing? It is worse than the wild sour grapes in Isaiah’s vineyard.
The reaction of the tenants to the son doesn’t seem so wild in our world where children and other innocents can be massacred for no reason. We can speculate on the reasons for why people crack, but it is society that gives them the means to act.
Money and guns beget disrespect for life and violence.
‘Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’
What if God kept his word?
“Therefore, I say to you,
the kingdom of God will be taken away from you
and given to a people that will produce its fruit.”
There are still many of us who strive to produce the kingdom’s fruit. Please, God, give us the very much-needed guidance to know how.