Harvest time. Thanksgiving is almost upon us. Today we receive sombre messages from the Lord’s vineyard. Paraphrased, the woeful messages seem clear: "Woe to those vines that sour grapes.’ and ‘Woe to the unfaithful tenants of my vineyard.’ Fortunately, it is possible to understand this passage in a positive light.
Both the vines in the first reading and the tenants in the gospel are recipients of God’s abundant love. All the conditions for growth are present in the first reading – a fertile hill cleared of stones, choice vines, a watch-tower, a wine vat. God is indeed a gracious giver. In the gospel, the landowner(God) sends all manner of messenger to his tenants. He yearns for them to understand his message, first sending slave and finally sending his most precious son.
Are we, the present vines and tenants of the Lord’s vineyard, aware of his most gracious love? Do we have eyes to see and ears to hear all the gifts God sends our way or are we most often deaf and sightless? The readings today call us, "Wake up! Wake up, chosen vines and royal tenants! produce fruit worthy of the kingdom of God. Wake up and recognize the great love showered upon you."
Father AKE Patrice, UCAO-UUA’s Vice-president