Sunday, October 5, 2014

Today's Mass Readings - Sunday, October 5, 2014 with Reflection

1ST READING - Isaiah 5:1-7
Let me now sing of my friend, my friend’s song concerning his vineyard. My friend had a vineyard on a fertile hillside; he spaded it, cleared it of stones, and planted the choicest vines; within it he built a watchtower, and hewed out a wine press. Then he looked for the crop of grapes, but what it yielded was wild grapes. Now, inhabitants of Jerusalem and people of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard: What more was there to do for my vineyard that I had not done? Why, when I looked for the crop of grapes, did it bring forth wild grapes? Now, I will let you know what I mean to do to my vineyard: Take away its hedge, give it to grazing, break through its wall, let it be trampled! Yes, I will make it a ruin: it shall not be pruned or hoed, but overgrown with thorns and briers; I will command the clouds not to send rain upon it. The vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the people of Judah are his cherished plant; he looked for judgment, but see, bloodshed! for justice, but hark, the outcry!
P S A L M - Psalm 80:9, 12, 13-14, 15-16, 19-20
R: The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.
A vine from Egypt you transplanted; you drove away the nations and planted it. 12 It put forth its foliage to the Sea, its shoots as far as the river. (R) 13 Why have you broken down its walls, so that every passer-by plucks its fruit, 14 the boar from the forest lays it waste, and the beasts of the field feed upon it? (R) 15 Once again, O Lord of hosts, look down from heaven, and see; take care of this vine, 16 and protect what your right hand has planted, the son of man whom you yourself made strong. (R) 19 Then we will no more withdraw from you; give us new life, and we will call upon your name. 20 O Lord, God of hosts, restore us; if your face shine upon us, then we shall be saved. (R)
2ND READING - Philippians 4:6-9
Brothers and sisters: Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you.

I have chosen you from the world, says the Lord, to go and bear fruit that will remain.
Matthew 21:33-43
33 Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: “Hear another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey. 34 When vintage time drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce. 35 But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat, another they killed, and a third they stoned. 36 Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones, but they treated them in the same way. 37 Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’ 39 They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40 What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?” 41 They answered him, “He will put those wretched men to a wretched death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper times.” 42 Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes?’ 43 Therefore, I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.”


Performance is definitely the standard followed by the landowner. He did everything possible to get a bumper crop: hedge, winepress, tower — the works. He even leased it to people who would do the dirty work for him, and then went away on a cruise!

       But the tenants followed different ideals: force and violence. So while the cat was away, the mice did their own forays. While the landowner was away, the wily and manipulative tenants worked hard to assure that they get maximum profit from something they hardly deserved, with a little help from brute strength — beatings here, stonings and killings there.

         In the final analysis, both landowner and tenants really followed the same principle our culture is all too familiar with: the performance principle. He wanted profit overflowing, and he took the tenants to task. The tenants wanted all profits and products for themselves. Both wanted the same thing at all cost: “Sorry to hurt your feelings, but business is business.”

         Product, performance, profit. Aren’t they the things that really matter at the end of the day? A good life, a comfortable house, a lot of time for leisure and a lot of feathers in one’s cap. Sex minus the guilt; relationships minus the commitment; pleasure without responsibility; quick money without really working hard for it. Aren’t these all species of the same performance principle? What matters is the bottom line, which is“pera-pera lang yan!” (It’s all about money.)

       Is there something else we could be missing? Yes, indeed. There is another quite apart and quite distinct, but the products of which are literally out of this world: the peace principle. That peace is no ally of anxiety, but is closely associated with values that go beyond what the world values most. Let us hear them one more time, with feelings: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious.” This is “the peace of God, that surpasses all understanding.” Fr. Chito Dimaranan, SDB
REFLECTION QUESTION: What do you value most: performance and achievement, or a peaceful conscience?
Tame my worldly ambitions, Lord, that I may not be blinded by them. Help me to focus on what really matters in this life.

St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, pray for us.

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