Homily for the Twenty-Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time

Meeting God’s Expectation

Readings: 1st: Is 5:1-7; Ps: 79; 2nd: Phil 4:6-9; Gos: Mt 21:33-43

This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico, the island of enchantment. He is the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico; the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. For more details and comments contact him at:  canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

Today is the 27th Sunday of ordinary time, the church reminds us of God’s Great expectation from each of us. This includes both as His vineyard, as well as caretakers of His vineyard. To meet this expectation, we must remain focused and close to God through prayers. It guarantees our peace and helps us to fulfill God’s expectations.

Our first reading is an allegory known as “the song of the vineyard.” In this reading, God recounts his love and care for us. He chose us as the apple of his eyes (Zach 2, 8). God created us well and made us comfortable. So, he rightly expects us to be fair and to bear good fruits. Unfortunately, being humans, we have always failed him. “He expected justice, but He found bloodshed. He expected integrity, but He only heard a cry of distress.”

Often, our actions fall short of God’s expectation. This is because we have been stubborn instead of repenting. We have displayed unbelief instead of faith, indifference instead of love, and unworthiness instead of holiness. Our world today is marked by all sorts of violence, victimization, greed, corruption, etcetera. God expects us to make a difference as Christians. He expects us to bear good fruits.

Today, Paul exalts us not to be worried. Instead, we should remain close to God through prayers. He will allow his peace to abide with us if we abide with him in prayers. In order words, through prayers, we must always seek the peace of God. Prayer reassures us of God’s divine presence with us. It calms our fears and brings us peace through communion or fellowship with God, our creator.

Furthermore, he draws our attention to the basic stuff we must see. That is what God also expects from us: “Everything that is true, everything that is noble, everything that we love and honor….” Whatever is honorable is respectable. Whatever that is right, conforms to God’s righteousness. Whatever that is pure is free from defilement. Whatever that is lovely, is pleasing. Whatever that is good is laudable and commendable. So, we should think only about such things.

Unfortunately, today we no longer ask: “is it true or noble?” Instead, what we ask is: Does it work? Does everyone like it?  Will it make me feel good? As Paul reminds us today, we must seek excellence through the gospel and the church’s teachings. This is the only path that leads to peace of mind, and of course, to greatness.

In today’s gospel, Jesus also employed the allegory of the vineyard to addressed the chief priests and the elders. They were portrayed as evil and wicked tenants who decided to overthrow the landlord. Hence, they were kicked out because they were evil and did not meet the landlord’s expectations. In short, they rejected the Gospel.

Therefore, this reading reminds us of God’s generosity and trust. It equally reminds us of His patience and justice. Most importantly, it reminds us of God’s expectations from us. “To whom much is given much is expected.” So, we must be ready to render an excellent account to God, our creator. We must not disappoint him.

Finally, God called and chose us out of His love for us. So, we must not reject or betray him as the first servants did. Instead, we must be faithful to Him by bearing good fruits and rendering an excellent account to Him.

Peace be with you all!

Maranatha!

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