Daily Scriptures Reflection for 10/2/11

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Scripture: Lectionary # 140 Sunday, Oct. 1, 2011: Isaiah 5:1-7 Psalm
80:9.12.13-14.15-16.19-20 Philippians 4:6-9. Matthew 21:33-43

Sunday’s Readings

Picture a vineyard surrounded by a strong white wall.  This will give you
an entry into the first reading and the Gospel as well as the Psalm and its
Response.  And if you have the time, look into the other Gospels to see the
same image used in the parable that is our reading for today from St.
Matthew’s Gospel. (see Mark 12:1-2; Luke 20:9-19).  These Gospels, the
Synoptic ones, all have as their source the first reading taken from the
Prophet Isaiah who applies the image of the vineyard to the Chosen People
of God, the Israelites.  Jesus adapts it to his immediate listeners who are
the leaders of Jerusalem and the ones who follow them.  The parable is
interpreted in an allegorical way which means that each symbol and each
character is applied to specific meanings rather than the simple parable
that emphasizes only one point.

By now, we know that Matthew associates the parables with the kingdom of
God by often using the expression “the kingdom of God is like”.  Most often
he uses the more reverent Jewish way of saying it, “The Kingdom of Heaven
is like.”  These parables have an eschatological perspective about them
which can be immediate or for the present. The kingdom of God or of Heaven
is then here within us; however, the parables of the kingdom more
frequently have a future application to the Second Coming of Jesus as the
judge of all humankind from its beginning till its final time.  All of
these kingdom parables are also framed within the plan of God which we call
“salvation history.”

The vineyard represents Israel or the People of God; the wall the
surrounding walls of Jerusalem.  The servants (slaves in the original
Greek) are the prophets, the son is the Son of Man (Jesus). Matthew puts
the parable within the context of Jesus’ death outside the walls of
Jerusalem on Calvary.

Without losing any of its force, the parable is able to be applied to
ourselves and not only to those surrounding Jesus during his historical
time.  Parables have a far reaching dimension to them that is timeless and
is meant to stir the reader or listener no matter when he or she is alive
and hearing it.  Thus it applies to us.  We may wish to ask ourselves where
we fit in the parable or how does this parable speak to me at this time in
my personal relationship with God and with my neighbor?

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