10/4 The 18th Sunday after Pentecost: Telling Stories and Being Changed

Readings:  Isaiah 5.1-7 / Phil 3.4b-14 / Mt. 21.33-46/

When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that Jesus was speaking about them. They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet. Mt 21.46

Back in Jerusalem this week – or rather still in Jerusalem, the city of peace – and its crunch time.  Things are heating up, Passover is a few days away and Jesus is still on the loose telling stories. First, he told about two sons, one of whom deceived his father and one who changed his mind.  And now he was talking about an inherited vineyard and tenants who tried to steal it.  The religious officials are still afraid and Jesus was still telling stories – about them – and before we let ourselves off the hook – anybody in hearing distance  – and at least they realized it – but they still didn’t want to be changed.  Do we?

A vineyard –producing kingdom fruit.  Jesus was talking about making the world God’s home – and they were afraid.  Crunch time is all relative and the vineyard is getting hotter but we can be a part of changing that by “being changed”.  Paul, the prisoner – the “changed one” – writes of pressing on to what lies ahead.  And as prisoners of the present circumstances we can learn much from his words of gain and loss, worth and value, and the call of God in Jesus Christ.  As the Feast of St. Francis is commemorated today we will do well to recall how he changed and pressed forward always humbling himself and calling all others with to receive and share the kingdom fruit of God’s Peace. 

Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where  there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.  Amen.