Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (José Antonio Pagola)

Ross Reyes DizonHomilies and reflections, Year ALeave a Comment

Author: .
Estimated Reading Time:

Religious crisis

The parable of the “murderous tenants” is a story in which Jesus reveals allegorically step by step God’s history with his chosen people.  It is a sad story.  God has taken care of them from the beginning with all tenderness.  They were his “chosen vineyard.”  He expected them to be a people exemplary for their justice and faithfulness.  They would be a “great light” for all nations.

Yet that people kept rejecting and killing one after another the prophets that God kept sending them in order to harvest the fruits of a more just life.  Finally, in an incredible act of love, God sent his own Son.  But the leaders of that people finished him off.  What would God do with a people who betray his expectations in such a blind and stubborn manner?

The religious leaders who are listening attentively to the story answer spontaneously in the same words used in the parable: the landowner has no choice other than to put those tenants to death and turn the vineyard over to other hands. Jesus draws quickly a conclusion that they are not expecting:  “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.”

Commentators and preachers have frequently interpreted Jesus’ parable as the reaffirmation of the Christian Church as “the new Israel” that replaces the Jewish people following its diaspora worldwide after the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70.

The parable, however, is also talking about us.  An honest reading of the text forces us to ask ourselves serious questions: Are we producing in our times “the fruits” that God looks for in his people: justice for the excluded, solidarity, compassion toward those who suffer, and forgiveness …?

God does not have to bless a sterile Christianity from which God does not receive the fruits he is looking for.  God has no reason to identify with our mediocrity, our inconsistencies, our deviations, our unfaithfulness.  If we do not meet his expectations, God will go on opening new paths to the project of salvation for other people who will produce fruits of justice.

We talk about a “religious crisis,” “de-Christianization,” “the abandonment of religious practice.”  Could not God be preparing the path that would make possible the emergence of a Church that is more faithful to the project of God’s kingdom?   Is not this crisis necessary for the birth of a less powerful Church, yet more faithful to the Gospel, less numerous but more committed to building a more human world? Could not new generations arise, generations that would be more faithful to God?

José Antonio Pagola

October 5, 2014
27 Ordinary Time (A)
Matthew 21, 33-43

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *