October 8, 2017

Reading 1 IS 5:1-7

Let me now sing of my friend,
my friend’s song concerning his vineyard.
My friend had a vineyard
on a fertile hillside;
he spaded it, cleared it of stones,
and planted the choicest vines;
within it he built a watchtower,
and hewed out a wine press.
Then he looked for the crop of grapes,
but what it yielded was wild grapes.

Now, inhabitants of Jerusalem and people of Judah,
judge between me and my vineyard:
What more was there to do for my vineyard
that I had not done?
Why, when I looked for the crop of grapes,
did it bring forth wild grapes?
Now, I will let you know
what I mean to do with my vineyard:
take away its hedge, give it to grazing,
break through its wall, let it be trampled!
Yes, I will make it a ruin:
it shall not be pruned or hoed,
but overgrown with thorns and briers;
I will command the clouds
not to send rain upon it.
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!

Why did the vineyard produce wild grapes, not the crop of grapes? The vineyard owner did all he had to do, yet the outcome was not the right one.  This sounds similar to how God does everything to make us the best people we can be, but we still continue to sin.  He even sent His Son as a perfect Example for us to follow in our own lives, but we do not follow many times.  The vineyard owner let it go to ruin, and if we do not fix ourselves and live holy lives, He will let us go.  There is only so much God will do before He allows us to completely walk away from Him.  He wants us so much, but love is a choice.  He gives us free will so if we do not follow Him, we will suffer the consequences.

Reading 2 PHIL 4:6-9

Brothers and sisters:
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters,
whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious,
if there is any excellence
and if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.
Keep on doing what you have learned and received
and heard and seen in me.
Then the God of peace will be with you.

I am one to have a ton of anxiety about anything and everything.  From what am I eating for dinner to how am I paying that bill to where am I going to be in 5 years and will my dreams ever come true?  It is no way to live.  I need to be more focused on what I do have and how much I have been blessed.  Prayer must be surrounding everything we do.  Don’t you always want to talk to your best friend?  When you went on a date with a cute boy, when you lost 5 pounds, when you fight with your sister?  Well, Jesus needs to be our Best Friend.  We need to constantly be talking to Him.  This will give us the ultimate peace of Jesus Christ.

Our thoughts are flooded and clouded by so many things that are not pure, honorable, lovely, gracious, true, and just.  We are thinking of things that are lustful, pleasurable, selfish, negative, deceiving, and so on.  We have to change that because thoughts affect words and actions.  Thoughts can change lives.  Even just think of how perception of a situation changes how you react to it.  True peace is not the absence of problems, rather it is the Presence of Christ.

Gospel MT 21:33-43

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people:
“Hear another parable.
There was a landowner who planted a vineyard,
put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower. 
Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey.
When vintage time drew near,
he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce. 
But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat,
another they killed, and a third they stoned. 
Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones,
but they treated them in the same way. 
Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking,
‘They will respect my son.’
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another,
‘This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’
They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 
What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?”
They answered him,
“He 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.” 
Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures:
The Stone that the builders rejected
has become the Cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes?

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.”

This parable is very symbolic.  The servants that were killed can represent all the people and prophets that God sent to the people.  After so many great people were sent, God sent His Son to save us, just like the man sent his son to the tenants.  The vineyard owner surely would expect the tenants to treat his son differently, but instead they treated him the same and even wanted to kill him more because of his inheritance.  Like the owner’s son was, Jesus, God’s Son, was mistreated, abused, and killed. Innocent blood was shed, and He was here to save the world.  In these terms, it is disgusting to think about and not understand how those people could do that.  However, think about how many times we hurt Jesus and kill Him a little more with each sin.  We add thorns to His crown of thorns every day with our failures and shortcomings.  We do not treat Him like the King of Kings that He is.  This needs to change with respect and reverence and prayer.






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