Cultivating the Vineyard
17th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Archbishop Loren Thomas Hines
October 4, 2020
Readings: Isaiah 5: 17
Philippians 3: 14-21
Matthew 21: 33-43
Jesus shares with us what we need to know about what God has done and what is needed to be done. In the Parable of the Vineyard, he gives man instructions to take care of this vast land. Isaiah 61: 3 So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
What God has done is perfect. Just looking around us, we can see the perfection of God in creation. The sun rises up each morning, everything on earth has been provided to take care of man; the gold, oil, coal, minerals. It is unfortunate that man does not give credit to God. Man has become disobedient and even complains about climate change. Man has failed to maintain the environment.
It says further in this parable that at harvest time, the landowner sent out the servants to check on the tenants. But they killed the landowners’ servants. The Landowner sends his own son, but the tenants killed him too. So the landowner had to take down his hedge of protection.
In the New Testament, we see the same scenario. They also killed the servants. So God said He will give His blessings to another branch.
Micah 6: 3 My people, what have I done to you? How have I burdened you? Answer me.
Romans 11: 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you either.
Proverbs 1: 31 They will eat the fruit of their own ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.
When God took the children of Israel out of Egypt, delivered them from the enemy and promised to take them to the land of milk and honey, the children of Israel disobeyed and did not make it to the promised land due to their own doing. The church is the vineyard. God is the one who built the church. It is our task to cultivate and keep it.
2nd Peter 1: 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence.
He has given to us His personal presence. If He is for us, then who can be against us? But what has happened to man is that he has become a creature of fear. In doing so, we are actually violating the principles of the vineyard. We should never cut corners. We should not be willing to just accept whatever situation we see. It takes a courageous kind of faith for us to see otherwise and rise up and be victorious. We are to be partakers of the divine nature. We have to have confidence in the excellence He’s given to us.
2nd Peter 1:5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge.
Ephesians 1: 3 – 4 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.
2nd Peter 1: 10 Therefore brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble.
If we do not use what God has given us, they will be taken away from us. It is not enough for us to go to church, we need to live out His life. We have to stand firm with our faith. God will not fail us. We are a victorious people, unafraid of facing problems.