Monday, 4 June 2018 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, the Lord through His words in the Scriptures reminded us that each and every one of us as Christians must be good and faithful servants of God, and not to fall into the temptations of worldly power, glory and all the things that can lead us into sin and thus turning us away from God, as what He taught His disciples through the parable of the vineyard tenant.

In that parable we heard about a vineyard owner who lent out his vineyard to tenants, to whom the owner entrusted the guardianship of his vineyard, giving them a source of living and place to stay and live in, with the only expectation that they honour their part of the agreement, by paying the rent fee regularly and punctually. This is the agreement that they had agreed between them.

What does this mean, brothers and sisters in Christ? This represents the Covenant which existed between God and His people, that is all of us. Each and every one of us mankind are the stewards of God, entrusted with the guardianship of this world, just as at the time when He created us, as written in the Book of Genesis, we heard of how God entrusted this world and all of creation to the hands of man.

God has given us His blessings and graces, and everything that we need. However, He also requires one thing from us, that just as He has loved us and given us His love and full attention, then each and every one of us must also love Him, and show Him our love, commitment and devotion. This is represented in the parable, by the rent payment that the tenants ought to give to the vineyard owner. The owner represents God, while we are represented by the tenants.

Now, the Lord Jesus used the parable to rebuke the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, many of whom have been thorns in His side, and who always challenged His authority and made His efforts and works very difficult. They were the evil and wicked tenants in the parable, who refused to pay the rent payment as agreed, and one after another, harassed and even killed those servants sent by the vineyard owner to remind them of their obligations.

Thus was how they and many of the leaders of the people refused to believe in the Lord and killed the messengers of God, the prophets, preferring to live according to their own way. In the time of the old kingdom of Israel and Judah, the kings and the leaders of the people worshipped the pagan gods and idols, and refused to listen to the words of the prophets such as Elijah, Elisha and many others.

And then, during the time of Jesus, while the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law professed to have deep faith in God, and were in fact very proud of their piety and dedication, but in truth, as the Lord showed the people, that they did not have true faith after all. And why is that so? That is because whatever faith it was they seemed to have, it was merely external piety rather than true faith, as they did many of their pious acts, in order to be praised by others and to gain honour and influence among the people.

They did not place God at the centre and the most honoured part of their lives, but rather themselves and their ego. They were swayed by greed and worldly desires, and this is what the evil and wicked tenants in the parable had also done. They refused to pay their due and even plotted against the servants sent to them, because they became greedy and filled with desire for what they had obtained and gained.

In the end, the parable showed how the evil and wicked tenants even struck and killed the son of the owner of the vineyard, in order to gain ownership of the vineyard. This is the Lord’s way of telling the people a premonition of what was to happen, how He would be betrayed and condemned to death by those same people who had refused to believe in Him and rejected His teachings.

But the Lord would destroy all those who have not obeyed His will, just as the owner destroyed all the wicked tenants and gave the vineyard to the other, more worthy and obedient tenants. And to whom God has entrusted anew this inheritance, taken away from His enemies and all those who have disobeyed Him? To all of us, brothers and sisters in Christ, Christians who believe in Him and walk in His ways.

Now, brothers and sisters, all of us need to realise that in our lives, God has entrusted us with many responsibilities. We cannot be idle or passive in living our lives, but instead, we must do what we are supposed to do, as the ones to whom God had entrusted this rich inheritance. This means that, each and every one of us should do our best to live our lives as good Christians, loving and caring for one another, just as we love God with all of our hearts and strength.

May the Lord be with each and every one of us, and may He strengthen and empower us, to live faithfully and worthily in His presence, devoting our effort, time and attention to serve Him, as His faithful and obedient stewards. May God see our faith and dedication, and bless us with ever more abundant blessings, and bring all of us to enjoy in the end, the glory and eternal life He has promised us all. Amen.

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