From the Pastor's Desk


Rev. Paul Ring

My Dear Friends in Christ,

I have no luck with horticulture. If you ever want a plant to die a quick, painless death, put it in my hands. Since my youngest days, I have not had the ability to grow anything. Remember those elementary school projects when you were given charge of a seed with some dirt in a Styrofoam cup? It didn't grow an inch in my care. In fact, I went to check on it (by poking it, of course) and I believe that's when I did it in. I had a friend in college ask me to tend their plants. As much as I begged and pleaded to the contrary, they insisted I could do it. How wrong they were! Needless to say, they never asked me again to watch their plants.

I bring these stories/images up in light of our readings to-day. In the first reading, responsorial psalm and gospel, the image of a vineyard is used prominently. In the first read-ing, Isaiah speaks of Israel as a vineyard and how God, try as He might, cannot yield anything but "wild grapes" (an image of the uncooperative nature of the Israelite people). Because of this, God allows the vineyard to be trampled underfoot (read: the kingdom of Israel to be disbursed and left to fend for themselves). They will come around, but not without a lot of "pruning"! In the responsorial psalm, this image of the vineyard (Israel) is carried forward by the psalmist. In this psalm, the history of the Israelites is laid out, from their captivity in, and exile from, Egypt to their disobedience to their restora-tion. In this image, God (the vinedresser) never truly aban-dons Israel (the vineyard), but allows it to "lay fallow" for a time. God will, indeed, restore Israel, in His own time.

In the gospel passage, Jesus uses the image of the vineyard to mirror the people of God. The chief priests and the elders (the caretakers of the vineyard) have not produced the re-sults which God has wanted, for they are only concerned with their own well-being and not that of the people. Be-cause of the inability to tend the "vineyard" to God's liking, the vineyard will be given to someone (read: disciples/ apostles of Jesus) who will care for it.

My friends, we have been given care of the vineyard. We have the opportunity to grow great things, in the form of our parish and our faith. May we have the strength, given by God, to tend the vineyard (the Church), to carefully tend its crop (the people of God) and yield great fruit (souls for the Kingdom).

Have a Blessed Week,

Fr. Paul



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