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Posted: 9/29/2011 5:01:33 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/1/2011 5:45:24 PM EDT by Cattitude]
October 2, 2011

First Reading:
Isaiah 5:1-7


1 Let me sing for my beloved a love song concerning his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill.
2 He digged it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines;
he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it;
and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.
3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge,
I pray you, between me and my vineyard.
4 What more was there to do for my vineyard, that I have not done in it?
When I looked for it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes?
5 And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge,
and it shall be devoured; I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.
6 I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and briers
and thorns shall grow up; I will also command the clouds that they
rain no rain upon it.
7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of
Judah are his pleasant planting; and he looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed;
for righteousness, but behold, a cry!

Responsorial Psalm:
Psalm 80:9, 12-16, 19-20


R. (Is 5:7a) The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.

A vine from Egypt you transplanted;
you drove away the nations and planted it.
It put forth its foliage to the Sea,
its shoots as far as the River.

R. The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.

Why have you broken down its walls,
so that every passer-by plucks its fruit,
The boar from the forest lays it waste,
and the beasts of the field feed upon it?

R. The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.

Once again, O LORD of hosts,
look down from heaven, and see;
take care of this vine,
and protect what your right hand has planted
the son of man whom you yourself made strong.

R. The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.

Then we will no more withdraw from you;
give us new life, and we will call upon your name.
O LORD, God of hosts, restore us;
if your face shine upon us, then we shall be saved.

R. The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.

Second Reading:
Philippians 4:6-9


6 Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
7 And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts
and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence,
if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the
God of peace will be with you.


Gospel:
Matthew 21:33-43


33 "Hear another parable. There was a householder who planted a vineyard,
and set a hedge around it, and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower,
and let it out to tenants, and went into another country.
34 When the season of fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants,
to get his fruit;
35 and the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another,
and stoned another.
36 Again he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did the same to them.
37 Afterward he sent his son to them, saying, `They will respect my son.'
38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves,
`This is the heir; come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.'
39 And they took him and cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
40 When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to
those tenants?"
41 They said to him, "He will put those wretches to a miserable death,
and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons."
42 Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the scriptures: `The very stone which
the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord's doing,
and it is marvelous in our eyes'?
43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and
given to a nation producing the fruits of it."

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++­++++++++

Overview of the Gospel:


• We take up this Sunday’s Gospel where we left off last Sunday: Jesus has
just finished relating the parable of the two sons in the vineyard. The Jewish leaders
he is addressing, knowing Jesus was speaking of them, resolve to destroy him
(Matthew 21:45-46). Jesus knows this and thus addresses another parable to them,
also about a vineyard.

• This parable is also an allegory, that is, each person, group and place stands
for something else. It is similar to the Nathan’s allegory to King David
(2 Samuel 12:1-10).

• By this allegory, Jesus confronts his listeners with the fact that God has given his
people every blessing imaginable and entrusted their leaders to take care of what,
ultimately, belongs to him. When he sent his messengers to set them straight when
they strayed, they refused to listen. When one greater than all the messengers came
to set things right, they recognized his threat to their authority (verse 38; Matthew 12:14;
26:3ff; John 11:47-53).

• Jesus prophesies that the kingdom will be taken away from them and given to those
who give the Lord “produce at the proper time” (verses 41, 43)— i.e., the believing
Jews and the Gentiles who will make up the Church and perform the good works
expected by God (Matthew 3:8-10; 16:17-19; Galatians 6:16).

Questions:

• In the 1st Reading, who is the prophet's “friend”? How can we tell he owns and cares about the
vineyard? Is he within his rights to allow the wild and unproductive field to go it's own way and
to start over again?

• In Jesus' parable, who (or what) is represented as the landowner? The vineyard? The
tenants? The servants? The son?

• In the 2nd Reading, what are the things that St. Paul tells will help us stay focused on God?

• What corresponds to the son’s death? To the removal of the wretched tenants?

• At whom does Jesus direct this parable (and those we heard on the previous two Sundays)?

• Why don’t’ they arrest him (vv 45-46)? Why don’t they repent and follow him?[list]

• At different times in your life, with what attitude have you received Jesus? Have you ever felt
you deserved God’s kingdom?

• In your life, is Jesus like a cornerstone (the foundation of your building)? Or is he like a
millstone (a weight that drags you down)? In what ways?

• With whom do you identify in this story? Why?
Link Posted: 9/30/2011 6:23:27 PM EDT
Meditation on this week's Gospel:

What can a parable about the mis-managment of a vineyard tell us about the kingdom of God? Jesus’ audience could easily identify with the story about an absentee landlord and his not-so-good tenants. The hills of Galilee were lined with numerous vineyards, and it was quite common for the owners to let out their estates to tenants. Many did it because they could make a lot of money easily by collecting high rent from their tenants. Their wealthy status allowed them to travel and own houses in other places. Jesus' story, however, was unsettling to some of his audience. Why did the scribes and Pharisees in particular feel offended? Jesus' parable contained both a prophetic message and a warning to the religious community and its leaders. Isaiah had spoken of the house of Israel as "the vineyard of the Lord" (Isaiah 5:7). Isaiah warned his people that their unfaithfulness would yield bad fruit if they did not repent and change. Jesus' listeners would likely understand this parable as a healthy reminder that God will in due time root out bad fruit and put an end to rebellion.

What does Jesus' parable tell us about God and the way he deals with his people? First, it tells us of God's generosity and trust. The vineyard is well equipped with everything the tenants need. The owner went away and left the vineyard in the hands of the tenants. God, likewise trusts us enough to give us freedom to run life as we choose. This parable also tells us of God's patience and justice. Not once, but many times he forgives the tenants their debts. But while the tenants take advantage of the owner's patience, his judgment and justice prevail in the end.

Jesus foretold both his death and his ultimate triumph. He knew he would be rejected by his own people and be killed, but he also knew that would not be the end. After rejection would come glory – the glory of resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Father. The Lord continues to bless his people today with the gift of his kingdom. And he promises that we will bear much fruit if we abide in him and remain faithful to him (see John 15:1-11). He entrusts each of us with his gifts and grace and he gives each of us a particular work to do in his vineyard – the body of Christ. He promises that our labor, especially what we do for him, will not be in vain if we persevere with faith to the end (see 1 Corinthians 15:58). We can expect trials and difficulties as we labor for the Lord, and even persecution from those who oppose God's kingdom. But in the end we will see triumph. Do you labor for the Lord with joyful hope and with confidence in his victory?

"Thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits which you have given us; for all the pains and insults which you have borne for us. O most merciful redeemer, friend, and brother, may we know you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly, for you own sake." (prayer of St. Richard of Chichester, 13th century)


Link Posted: 9/30/2011 6:54:01 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/30/2011 6:57:32 PM EDT
Went to Catholic Church last wee - all of us took communion, then in the weekly service flyer - the church requested that non-Catholics do not take communion (we are ex-Episcopal). Seems they don't want my family back this Sunday...
Link Posted: 9/30/2011 7:31:24 PM EDT
Walls Come Tumbling Down by Marcellino D'Ambrosio

A few years ago, I toured the far north of England. There, stretching 73 miles from coast to coast, the Roman Emperor Hadrian built a massive wall. Constructed of stone, it was built to last, since it marked the northernmost boundary of the greatest empire the world had ever known. Soldiers from every corner of the world were garrisoned there, and excavations tell the fascinating story of their lives and deaths.

Roman civilization was nearly 1,000 years old by the time the wall was built, and it must have seemed that Rome would indeed last forever.

Soldiers manned the wall continuously for 200 years after its construction. But the empire did not last forever. It collapsed, and Hadrian’s wall became a quarry used by the local people scavenging for building materials.

Historians spill lots of ink debating why Roman civilization fell to roving bands of barbarians. But when you get right down to it, the answer is in the Bible (see this Sunday’s readings––Isaiah 5:1-7 and Matthew 21:33-43). Rome fell for the same reason that the Kingdom of Israel fell in 722BC and Judah was exiled to Bablyon in 587BC. Divine Providence had blessed all three societies. But he had also called them all to account, and found them wanting. He had planted them as choice vines, but these civilizations had yielded sour grapes. Idolatry, adultery, and social injustice were some of the fruits the produced before their collapse. And how about the people of Jericho? Why did their walls come tumbling down? Could it have anything to do with the fact that they practiced child sacrifice and ritual prostitution?

That was then. How about now? America was founded in large part by those seeking to make it “a city on a hill.” Its motto was “in God we trust.” Now judges rule that we can retain this motto without infringing on anyone’s rights precisely because we really don’t mean it. America once exported democracy. Now it exports “The Jersey Shore” and “The Real Housewives of Orange County.” When I travel around the world and tell people that I’m from Dallas, their faces light up. Even if they can’t speak English, they manage to smile and exclaim “J.R.!”

Many assume America will last forever. But there were soldiers manning Hadrian’s wall for more years than a US president has occupied the White House. We are not invulnerable, as September 11 and Katrina have reminded us. If we continue to yield sour grapes, our walls too will come tumbling down.

So what are we to do? Perhaps instead of killing the prophets, we ought to listen to them. Maybe we can begin honoring God rather than exiling him, respecting marital fidelity rather than ridiculing it, protecting the unborn rather than protecting their “terminatators,” and caring for the poor rather than abandoning them.

And maybe we can follow the advice of St. Paul (Phil 4:6-9) and renounce the anxiety that makes us miserable and causes us to conclude that we must “take care of ourselves” rather than do things God’s way. Perhaps if we thank God for blessings and even trials, presenting our needs to Him in faith, we’ll see a change in our mood and even a change in our world. And maybe if we fill our minds with the splendor of truth rather than with the trash of “The Jersey Shore” we might just notice more joy and serenity in our lives.

Have you ever seen a more frantic society than ours? We eat, drink, and breathe tension.

Yet St. Paul speaks of a “peace that passes all understanding.” It’s a peace that does not go away even when planes strike towers and hurricanes swamp cities. It starts in the inside but has impact on the outside. Without it, Mother Teresa could have never lasted in the chaos of Calcutta and John Paul the Great could have never made his way through Nazi tanks and Communist oppression to occupy the chair of Peter.

This peace indeed defies comprehension. But it’s ours for the asking.
Link Posted: 9/30/2011 7:33:59 PM EDT
God seeks fruit from his vineyard by Fr. Tommy Lane

In the first reading God speaks of his love for his vineyard which is Israel (Isa 5:1-7), “Let me sing to my friend the song of his love for his vineyard...” Through Isaiah God described his chosen people, Israel, as a vineyard and declared how disappointed he is that instead of yielding grapes they produce sour grapes (Isa 5:4). Since through the prophet Isaiah God had already described his chosen people as a vineyard, we can easily understand why Jesus told a parable in the Gospel today where he describes the Church as a vineyard. (Matt 21:33-43) In the parable in the Gospel the landowner sent servants many times to collect the produce of the vineyard. But each time the servants were killed. The servants represent the prophets of the Old Testament who suffered for preaching the Word of God by being killed violently. Then the landowner sent his son, Jesus, who was also killed. The landowner took the vineyard from those tenants and gave it to other tenants. The vineyard in the parable is the Church, and so when the vineyard is taken from those tenants and given to others (Matt 21:41) it is a symbolic way of saying that the Church would consist not just of the chosen people, the Jews, but would include all peoples.

But what does the parable mean for us today? Obviously it can take on many meanings for us today, but as I thought about it certain events in recent years come to mind. If the vineyard is the Church and we are the tenants, then God wants us to give him produce from his vineyard, the Church. (Matt 21:34) God sent his servants, the prophets, in the Old Testament and through Isaiah complained that the vineyard was producing sour grapes instead of sweet grapes (Isa 5:4). God sent his Son Jesus, but God did not stop communicating with us then. From time to time God continues to send us reminders to encourage us to collect the produce from the vineyard, the Church. (Matt 21:34) What are some of these ways in which God sent servants to us, tenants of his vineyard, in recent years asking us to produce fruit from the vineyard? All the following examples are approved by the Church as trustworthy and reliable.


Read the rest of this homily here.
Link Posted: 10/1/2011 4:41:53 AM EDT
• In Jesus' parable, who (or what) is represented as the landowner? The vineyard? The
tenants? The servants? The son?


Let's look at the cast of characters here:

The landowner=played by Himself-God
The vineyard=played by His "Chosen people"
The tenants=those working the vineyard, the scribes, Sadducees and Pharisees.
The servants=played by the prophets of God, sent to His Chosen people, and finally
The son=played by the Son of God, our blessed Lord and Savior.

Isn't it interesting that our Lord's parable here shows an absentee landlord. He owns the land, prepares it, and then leaves it up to the free will, choices, work and diligence of the tenants, his very own people.

God respects our choices and free will. But, we will either pay the price for our bad choices and foolishness, or reap our grand reward––eternal bliss in heaven with the beatific vision: seeing God face-to-face, loving, serving and praising him forever.

Can you imagine the reaction of the leaders of the Jewish community when they "got" what are Lord was saying! Man––they were angry. Notice how legalistic the corrupt vineyard workers think: "yeah––we kill off the son, who stands to inherit the land, so we can race to the courthouse steps and claim the prize by adverse possession we will get the son's inheritance by killing him." Really? One big flaw here: the father is still alive and sees what you've done. Whoops!

To me it shows just how much hard work needs to be done to establish God's kingdom here on earth. We truly will be judged by our fruits: are they wholesome and healthy, or rotten? If you've ever grown grapes, you know what a chore it is doing things properly. Including warding off the pests, diseases, birds, mold, mildew, floods and droughts. Not easy.

And what is our recipe for success: Jesus. of course! We all look to Him.
Link Posted: 10/1/2011 5:38:53 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/1/2011 5:40:32 PM EDT by Cattitude]
Originally Posted By xanadu:
Went to Catholic Church last wee - all of us took communion, then in the weekly service flyer - the church requested that non-Catholics do not take communion (we are ex-Episcopal). Seems they don't want my family back this Sunday...


No, actually you are most welcome to attend Mass at any time.

However, as a non-Catholic, you are to refrain from receiving the Eucharist. There are specific requirements that a person must meet prior to receiving the Eucharist, which is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus under the appearance of bread and wine.

Are you considering becoming Catholic?


Who Can Receive Communion?

....
The guidelines for receiving Communion, which are issued by the U.S. bishops and published in many missalettes, explain, "We welcome our fellow Christians to this celebration of the Eucharist as our brothers and sisters. We pray that our common baptism and the action of the Holy Spirit in this Eucharist will draw us closer to one another and begin to dispel the sad divisions which separate us. We pray that these will lessen and finally disappear, in keeping with Christ’s prayer for us ‘that they may all be one’ (John 17:21).

"Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to Communion. Eucharistic sharing in exceptional circumstances by other Christians requires permission according to the directives of the diocesan bishop and the provisions of canon law. . . . "

Scripture is clear that partaking of the Eucharist is among the highest signs of Christian unity: "Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread" (1 Cor. 10:17). For this reason, it is normally impossible for non-Catholic Christians to receive Holy Communion, for to do so would be to proclaim a unity to exist that, regrettably, does not.

Another reason that many non-Catholics may not ordinarily receive Communion is for their own protection, since many reject the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Scripture warns that it is very dangerous for one not believing in the Real Presence to receive Communion: "For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died" (1 Cor. 11:29–30).


You can read the rest here.
Link Posted: 10/1/2011 6:18:36 PM EDT
• In the 2nd Reading, what are the things that St. Paul tells will help us stay focused on God?

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1803 "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."62

A virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself. The virtuous person tends toward the good with all his sensory and spiritual powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions.

The goal of a virtuous life is to become like God.63




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