Archive for September 30, 2011

October 2nd, 2011 – 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: September 30, 2011 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

Sunday Bible Reflections with Dr. Scott Hahn

Living on the Vine

Readings:
Isaiah 5:1-7
Psalm 80:9, 12-16, 19-20
Philippians 4:6-9
Matthew 21:33-43


 

In today’s Gospel Jesus returns to the Old Testament symbol of the vineyard to teach about Israel, the Church, and the kingdom of God.

And the symbolism of today’s First Reading and Psalm is readily understood.

God is the owner and the house of Israel is the vineyard. A cherished vine, Israel was plucked from Egypt and transplanted in a fertile land specially spaded and prepared by God, hedged about by the city walls of Jerusalem, watched over by the towering Temple. But the vineyard produced no good grapes for the wine, a symbol for the holy lives God wanted for His people. So God allowed His vineyard to be overrun by foreign invaders, as Isaiah foresees in the First Reading.

Jesus picks up the story where Isaiah leaves off, even using Isaiah’s words to describe the vineyard’s wine press, hedge, and watchtower. Israel’s religious leaders, the tenants in His parable, have learned nothing from Isaiah or Israel’s past. Instead of producing good fruits, they’ve killed the owner’s servants, the prophets sent to gather the harvest of faithful souls.

In a dark foreshadowing of His own crucifixion outside Jerusalem, Jesus says the tenants’ final outrage will be to seize the owner’s son, and to kill him outside the vineyard walls.

For this, the vineyard, which Jesus calls the kingdom of God, will be taken away and given to new tenants – the leaders of the Church, who will produce its fruit.

We are each a vine in the Lord’s vineyard, grafted onto the true vine of Christ (see John 15:1-8), called to bear fruits of the righteousness in Him (see Philippians 1:11), and to be the “first fruits” of a new creation (see James 1:18).

We need to take care that we don’t let ourselves be overgrown with the thorns and briers of worldly anxiety. As today’s Epistle advises, we need to fill our hearts and minds with noble intentions and virtuous deeds, rejoicing always that the Lord is near.

“Anyone Who Listens To You Listens To Me”

Posted: September 30, 2011 by CatholicJules in Memory Book

The Apostle thus says,” Examine your calling, brothers, and how not many of you are wise, or powerful, or noble according to the flesh.  God has chosen the foolish things of this world to shame the wise, the weak things of this world to shame the mighty, and the base and contemptible things of this world, and he chose the things that are not in order to destroy the things that are.”  Since the world did not have the wisdom to recognise God from the orderliness, diversity, and constancy of his creatures, God saw fit to save those who believed through the foolishness of the Gospel message.  He accomplished this neither through the persuasive words of worldly wisdom nor through clever eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its potency; where is the wise man, where is the grammarian, where are the natural scientists? God accomplished this rather through the display of power and the Spirit, so that the faith of believers might rest in the power of God and not in the wisdom of men.

How few now read Aristotle? How many are familiar with Plato’s name and works? Only a few idle old men study them in out-of-the-way places.  The entire world, however speaks of our peasants and fishermen and sings their praises.  Their simple words must presented – and when I say “simple” I mean the words themselves, not the concepts behind them.  But if, in answer to your prayers, I could have the same spirit in expounding their epistles as they had when dictating them, you would see that there were as much majesty and breadth of true wisdom in them as there were arrogance and vanity in the learned men of the world.  Let me briefly confess to you a secret of mine: I do not want the person who wishes to understand the Apostle through me to have such a difficult time making sense of my writings that he has to find someone to interpret the interpreter.

 

Saint Jerome +419

Papal Secretary, Scripture Scholar, Doctor of the Church