2020-10-0427th Sunday in Ordinary TimeRev. Msgr. Michael J. Motta, D.Min.

It doesn`t take long before you realize that we live in a world of inequalities. Some people are rich while others are poor. Some people are strong while others are weak. Some people are reared in homes filled with warmth and wisdom while others grow up in families torn by bitterness and strife. Some seem to have every advantage while others appear to have none at all.

The greater challenges seem to lie with those who are disadvantaged. It makes me think of Helen Keller. Here was a woman who was blind and deaf who graduates from Radcliffe at the age of 24 with honors. Starting with a life that seems to be hopeless, she goes on to become a writer, a worker for charitable causes and one of the most admired people in the world.

I applaud people like that. They give us hope that somehow, we, too, can overcome our limitations and do something good with our lives. But overcoming disabilities is not the only challenge we face in life. There is also the challenge of living with advantages.

In today`s Gospel, Jesus tells the story about a "land owner who plants a vineyard, puts a hedge around it, digs out a wine press and builds a tower." Every one of these steps was an improvement that was designed to enhance production. The vineyard was planted; it did not grow wild. The hedge was a fence to keep out animals. The wine press was a receptacle used for harvesting the grapes and catching their juice. The tower was used to watch out for enemies. Having done all this, the owner then leases out the vineyard to tenant farmers. He has every reason to expect a big harvest. But, we see at the end of the story, that he does not even collect a single cluster of grapes.

In a very real sense, we are like those tenant farmers. We have been entrusted by God to take care of the vineyard. We have been provided with an opportunity to lead useful and productive lives. Each of us has been endowed with some advantages. We did not create them. They are a part of our inheritance. They are gifts from our parents, our culture and ultimately, God himself.

I think that it would be a good idea to take a good look at our lives and ask ourselves, "What is our attitude toward the advantages or the gifts that we have received from God?" Do we think of them as exclusively our own or are we willing to share? When we share, do we do so only with family members or are we conscious of others who need our help?

The Christian approach to life is based on stewardship. It is the recognition that everything that we have is from God or we just get to borrow it for a while. God expects us to share what He has given us. We should help the less fortunate.

Let`s go back to the Gospel story. The owner of the vineyard expected his tenants to provide well for themselves and their families but he also wanted them to pay the rent. The owner in the story is God and God is the provider of the good things that we have in life. We can use these gifts while we live on this earth but God wants us to share our blessings with others. This is not just a suggestion that Jesus makes. It is a moral imperative that can actually determine whether we go to heaven or not. Remember: what we share with our unfortunate brothers and sisters we share with Jesus or God himself.

Back to Homilies page