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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

Rebuilding the Vineyard (The Way Forward in Christ Part 220)

October 8, 2023

Readings

Isaiah 5:1-7

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

Philippians 4:6-9

Matthew 21:33-43

 

 

God planted the vine that is Israel. “He expected fair judgment but found injustice; uprightness but found cries of distress.” (Is 5:7). Such is the case with Christian nations today. In Europe and the Americas. In Australia, the Great South Land of the Holy Spirit. Even in the Philippines, the bastion of Christianity in Asia.


      According to God’s design, He had “cleared a space for it, it took root and filled the whole country.” (Is 5:9). First Israel, then Christianity, which in fact spread throughout the whole world. But many Catholics today have turned away from God, or are not living the life that God intends for them. So we reap the fruit of our unfaithfulness. “I shall take away its hedge, for it to be grazed on, and knock down its wall, for it to be trampled on. I shall let it go to waste, unpruned, undug, overgrown by brambles and thorn-bushes, and I shall command the clouds to rain no rain on it.” (Is 5:5b-6). Such is the sorry situation of so-called Christian nations and of our Church today.


      So authentic Christians cry out, “God Sabaoth, come back, we pray, look down from heaven and see, visit this vine; protect what your own hand has planted.” (Ps 80:14-15). More pointedly, we look at those who are responsible for such a situation, especially those in authority in the Church. We look to God’s justice and judgment on evildoers. “They have thrown it on the fire like dung, the frown of your rebuke will destroy them.” (Ps 80:16). And we beg God for restoration and renewal. “God Sabaoth, bring us back, let your face shine on us and we shall be safe.” (Ps 80:19).

 

      Jesus tells the parable of a landowner who planted a vineyard, leased it to tenants, who turned against him, even killing his own son. God raised Israel, but they were unfaithful and turned against Him, even crucifying His own Son Jesus. What will happen to them? “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end” (Mt 21:41a). Many Christians are coming to a wretched end, for rejecting the God who called and raised them. But we still have a chance. He will “lease the vineyard to other tenants who will deliver the produce to him at the proper time.” (Mt 21:41b).


      Many in our Church today, even at the very top, are those who have turned away from God and in fact are working to destroy God’s intent and design. Who will be the faithful remnant? Who will be the new tenants in the vineyard? We hope to be part of it. “The kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.” (Mt 21:43). We must produce fruit for the Kingdom. We must proclaim Christ and help bring his salvation to many others.


      How are we to go about this? We are to pray without ceasing, being thankful in all circumstances, being always joyful and not worrying. “Never worry about anything; but tell God all your desires of every kind in prayer and petition shot through with gratitude.” (Phil 4:6). We are to be a people that are growing in righteousness and holiness. “Finally, brothers, let your minds be filled with everything that is true, everything that is honorable, everything that is upright and pure, everything that we love and admire—with whatever is good and praiseworthy.” (Phil 4:8). Finally, we are to be faithful in doing what we have been called to do. We have already been instructed by Jesus and the apostles. As Paul has told us, “Keep doing everything you learnt from me and were told by me and have heard or seen me doing.” (Phil 4:9a).


      Let us carry on with our mission, and engage the enemy in this spiritual war, continuing to build God’s Kingdom. “Then the God of peace will be with you.” (Phil 4:9).

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