God’s generosity and man’s ingratitude
Twenty-Seventh Sunday of Year A (Matt 21:33-43)
October 8, 2017
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
TODAY’S theme is a dramatic contrast between God’s caring love and trust, and man’s disappointing performance (First Reading), or even betrayal (Gospel). It applies to Israel, God’s first choice vineyard, and its leaders, the unfaithful tenants. But it applies also—as a warning—to the Church (the new choice vineyard), and to all of us.
The Chosen People had been blessed by God in so many ways, so many times, in preference to others, more deserving ones. Yet, as many times they had failed to show gratitude for such “preferential treatment.” They had failed to give their greatest Benefactor and Protector the response He deserved. Worst of all, the people of Israel missed their greatest chance ever: the chance to welcome and honor their Lord and Savior in the Messiah, who had been sent by the Father in fulfillment of His promises. That tragic “blindness” of their hearts drew tears from the merciful eyes of Jesus. (See Lk 19:41.)
Today’s theme is a reminder and a warning addressed to the whole Church of today. It is a reminder of the immense loving care God has had for her over the centuries, from the beginning up to our days. Such a unique “preferential treatment” demands an adequate response—a response that has sometimes been wanting. It is, likewise, a warning not to repeat the disappointing performance of Israel and its leaders.
It is also a reminder and a warning addressed to us as a Christian nation, as a community and individuals specially blessed by the Lord. All of us in fact, both as a community of believers, and each of us as individuals, have been the object of God’s generous love and trust. We are the Lord’s vineyard. All of us are stewards for whom God has done so much: people to whom He has entrusted a lot and from whom He expects abundant fruits. He has trusted us so much. He has forgiven us so many times . . . .
And yet, where are we now? How have we responded to God’s generous and gratuitous love, His trust, His forgiveness for us as a nation, as a community and as individuals? . . . Everything has a limit. Even God’s patience. The two parables in today’s First and Third Readings remind us about this truth and invite us to act accordingly.