Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (Homily)
October 04, 2020 11:30 am · Father Sergio Muñoz Fita
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
So many things could be said about the readings that the Church presents us this Sunday. I want to focus on two ideas that are valid for us, both individually and as a community, and that have given me a lot to think about these past few days in my personal prayer.
In one of his sermons, Saint Augustine writes, "God cultivates us like a field to make us better." (Sermon 87) Therefore, the vineyard of the first reading and of the gospel parable can be applied to us. The first of the ideas that I want to share with you is that of God's patience, the Infinite patience of God, waiting for us to bear fruit. I invite you to think about your life, as it has been until today. How many opportunities have you had to bear the fruits of holiness? How many times has God visited you, through people and circumstances, and you have "killed" those occasions of grace, one after another, like those servants who were murdering the servants sent by the owner of the vineyard? In our parents; or in our catechists; in good friends; or in the example and teachings of so many saints; in the good priests we have known; or in so many simple and anonymous people who have been light for us; in so many good books that have fallen into our hands; in messages or movies that have moved us, in all those true, noble, just and pure realities that Saint Paul spoke of in the second reading, the Lord has been sending us - without us realizing it many times - opportunities to bear fruit, and yet our field perhaps remains barren and sterile. Our lives pass us by, and we continue wasting God's visits. At the height of his love, his Son has come to us and we have thrown him out because he annoyed us. We have cut him out of our lives because we believed in our madness that Jesus was an enemy of our happiness.
Think of the patience of God in your life. The Apostle Saint Peter writes, “consider the patience of our Lord as salvation” (2 Pet 3:15) and in the letter of the Apostle James we find these words: “See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains". (Jas 5:7).
The second idea connects the message of this Sunday with the previous one: we cannot take that infinite patience of God as a pretext to delay our conversion. On the contrary, what should be clear to us from today's readings is that the Lord hopes, (expects, waits) to find fruit. Furthermore, that the Lord will come looking for fruit. I remember a dear Patristics professor of mine, Juan José Ayán, giving us this definition of history, according to the Theology of Saint Irenaeus: history is the time that God takes to mature his creatures. God gives us time to mature and bear fruit. Today's Gospel ended with these terrible words from the Lord, "Therefore, I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit."
Dear brothers and sisters, the clock of our lives is growing closer and closer to stopping. We may have more time behind us than we have ahead of us. One day we will meet God face to face and he will speak to us the words that we heard in the first reading: “What else could I do for my vineyard that I did not?” What else could I have done to save you? I gave you abundant time, countless opportunities, extraordinary people and examples. I gave you my son, Jesus. I did not tire of calling you and attracting you with the bonds of my merciful love ... and here you have arrived, at the end of your road...and your field has not borne the fruits of conversion, of love, and of holiness.”
I do not know about you, but I do not want to see myself in that position at the sunset of my life. I thank God for the reminder he gives us in the readings this Sunday to take the Christian life more seriously so that with His help I can start over again. As we will ask in the concluding prayer of this Mass, God grant us to bear fruit and be transformed into the one whom we receive in the sacrament of the Eucharist. Only then will we live in peace, be truly happy and reach that place that surpasses our deepest longings and desires that God has prepared for those who love him. Amen