Bottom line: God entrusts his vineyard to tenants; they are not just the powerful ones. You and I are the tenants.
It is hard to read today's parable and not think about our nation's financial mess. The parable describes greed, reckless ambition and astounding mismanagement. Now, I have nothing to say about our banking crisis that thousands of others have not said. I do believe, however, that the crisis provides a moment to examine our own lives and how we are carrying out the trust placed on us.
In the parable Jesus addresses the issue of trust. He tells about a landowner who plants a vineyard and equips it with everything necessary to produce excellent wine. Then - and this is the crucial point - he leases it to tenants. As we shall see, the tenants make a hash of it - and they are brought to judgment.
But who are the tenants? They are not just people who lived a long time ago. Nor are they only those given enormous responsibilities - like bank managers and the guys on Wall Street. No, brothers and sisters, the tenants are you and me.
Sometimes you and I can imagine that because our responsibilities are small in comparison to the president or the bishop or the head of a corporation - therefore, we are off the hook. God does not see it that way. He will hold each of us accountable. What is happening on the national stage in some way reflects your life and mine.
Let me make a comparison. Perhaps you have seen a Shakespeare play like Julius Caesar or King Richard III. These plays fascinate us because they give a glimpse of the foibles of the famous. The dramas draw us in. We see ourselves in Brutus or Hamlet. We identify with their struggles and failures.
Similarly, the current national drama mirrors your life and mine. Many analysts have pointed out that even though it involves sums of money none of us can really imagine, still the story line is familiar:
To say it in a few words: greed, laziness and deception.
Now, every citizen wants the ones responsible for this mess to be exposed and held accountable. At the same time - if we have paid attention to today's parable - we recognize that we will have our own day of exposure and accountability. The parable of the tenants speaks about the inevitability of judgment.
In the coming weeks we will reflect on trust and accountability in a serious, but positive way. At the end of October and throughout the month of November, we address Stewardship. Stewardship simply means that God has entrusted us with something - time, abilities, financial resources - and wants us to use those gifts for his glory and the good of our brothers and sisters. This Sunday's parable is about bad Stewardship, but we can turn it around - just like we can turn around our lives.
To sum up: Jesus speaks about the landowner - God - who leases his vineyard to tenants and expects something productive from them. And, once again, who are the tenants? For sure, they are the president and other national leaders. They are the bankers and business executives. But more to the point, you and I...we are the tenants.
General Intercessions for the Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A (from Priests for Life)
From Archives (for Twenty-seventh Ordinary Sunday, Year A):
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Bulletin (Annual Report, Music Survey Results, Parish Council Retreat, Trip to Peru, 40 Days for Life Pictures)
From University of Washington newspaper The Daily: 40-day pro-life campaign kicks off in Seattle
Novena for Youth (to discover God's plan)
Parish Picture Album
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The USCCB Urges You to Protest the draconian new Obama regs that try to force virtually all private health plans to include coverage for all FDA-approved prescription contraceptives, sterilization procedures, and related "patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity."
- Father Robert Barron's "Catholicism" Makes its Debut on PBS