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Reflection: October 4, 2020

Sr. Jeanne Marie Hatch - October 2, 2020

This Sunday’s Gospel take us once again to the vineyard. In the readings, Isaiah sings us a song about his friend and Paul invites us to reflect and to pray with thanksgiving: “Think about whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, whatever is of excellence or of worthy of praise.” Paul promises us God’s peace when we think about these things. To find what is honorable, pure, lovely or gracious seems almost impossible in our country and world right now. To make it possible, Paul tells us not to be anxious and to keep on doing what we learned and received and have heard and seen. Multiple challenges continue, but the promise makes it worth the effort to keep on doing the right thing and trust God, the vine dresser to work it out. How are we doing finding what is lovely and gracious in the daily challenges?

Isaiah’s song about his friend is a sad tale of his vines yielding wild grapes and his tenant vine-growers being evil. Jesus adapts this tale of Isaiah in his gospel parable about the vineyard owner and his tenants. The tenants of the vineyard act shamefully even to the murder of the son of the owner. Jesus asks his listeners about what the owner of the vineyard should do. “Put them all to a wretched death” was their answer. Notice the alternative response Jesus gives, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”  Jesus takes a different twist. He knew God would produce a good harvest through those who produced good fruit. God’s people would be transformed, not destroyed. Often He repeats, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” What a tough lesson it is for us to learn. How do we practice this day by day?

These readings are a fitting focus on this October 4th, the feast of Francis of Assisi and the close of the celebration of the Season of Creation. We hear Pope Francis pick up his patron’s cry to come together with all God’s creatures and care for the Vineyard, take charge of the Earth, our common home. Following St. Francis and Pope Francis, we can change Isaiah’s sad song into a canticle of joyful hope as we bear good fruit for the Kingdom of God.       

Blessings and peace,

Sister Jeanne, SHCJ