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posted 1 Oct 2017, 10:16 by Our Lady of Fatima Church - White City London

More trouble in the vineyard!

Yes, there’s more trouble down on the farm in today’s Gospel. Last Sunday it was grumbling over wages in the vineyard at harvest time. This week it is the landowner’s own sons who are causing him trouble. The first son initially refuses to help but then changes his mind and goes to work, while the second son promises to go and work in the vineyard but then doesn’t keep his word.

What does all this mean for me, you may be asking yourself!! If we go back to Jesus’ day, we can better understand the situation. The mission of John the Baptist had shown that the harvest in God’s vineyard was ripe for picking –many had responded to his call for conversion and been baptised. John offered them water, renewal, a clean sheet and a fresh start in life. As John said he would, Jesus came with the Holy Spirit and fire. He reached out to the sick and the sinner, the marginalised and the outcasts. He brought healing and new life, an end and a beginning – tears of joy and relief, meals of celebration. Many who had previously rejected God – such as the tax-collectors & prostitutes – were now changing their ways and trying to be faithful to God. These are represented by the first son, whose initial “no” to God changes to “yes”.

However, many of the Jewish religious leaders of the day could not take this – Jesus was a scandal in their eyes and a threat to their authority. So, even though the people saw them as the “religious experts”, these leaders are represented by the second son whose initial “yes” to God is not followed up in action. They look like they are doing God’s will but in fact they are totally closed to all that God is doing around them. Even worse they are placing heavy burdens on everyone else rather than bringing them closer to God. When people are down and depressed, the last thing they want/need to hear is a sermon of condemnation! What they need is a hand reaching out to pick them up. So, the challenging question for each of us is: Am I more like the first or second son? Am I really living out my faith or am I just putting on a good act!

With prayers and blessings, Fr Richard, Fr Ephrem and the parish team.