It seems that violence and injustice constantly surround us and affect every single one of us- one only has to look at the recent Las Vegas mass shootings to see this. Clearly that’s not what God wants for us. God created us in his image, but that image doesn’t include hatred, hypocrisy and selfishness. So how did this “state of affairs” come about? Quite simply, we brought that disordered behaviour on ourselves with our free will choices that do not agree with the will of God. Nevertheless, the love of God will prevail and harvest time will demonstrate that effectively.
Look at the gospel language carefully, as well as the words of the first reading (Isaiah 5:1-7). The landowner (a metaphor for God) took great care and went to great expense to create a vineyard (the people) that contained within itself all the promises of a flourishing future. However, the tenant farmers (a metaphor for religious leaders in Jesus’ time) became proud, independent and exclusive, and did not give God what was his due. They even rejected the landowner’s son—and here Matthew clearly is alluding to the innocent Jesus and his wrongful, agonizing death.
Nearly all symbols and metaphors can be adapted to modern times, because the underlying truth remains. It is like holding up a mirror. In modern terms, we’re the vineyard, the People of God. Are we faithful to the wishes of the landowner, God the Father? As branches on the vine, do we truly live the values of the true vine, Jesus Christ? Do we faithfully carry out the mission of the Son? Do our ordinary choices—including those crucial choices at the polling places—truly reflect this fidelity to the will of God? Don’t point the finger; just look in a mirror!
The Church is the field, and like a choice vineyard, which has been planted by the heavenly cultivator. Yet the true vine is Christ who gives life to the branches, that is, to us; without him we can do nothing.