The Labourers in the Vineyard
From the parable in today’s Gospel, we see how much God loves us when he himself, through his beloved Son, took the initiative to enter our world in order to bring us into his Kingdom. We also see that the action of God’s grace does not depend on time and space.
In the parable God is represented as the landowner and we human beings are the labourers. The vineyard represents our Christian faith and our wages are heavenly life.
We learn that God does not call everybody at the same time. Some are called early in life having received their baptism as infants like the labourers who came at daybreak. Some were called as teenagers; some were called during their married life and others much later in life. God rewards all with the same wage which is eternal life.
In short, God is just and fair in all his dealings with his children. No one will ever go unrewarded for the good works that are attributed to him. Like the labourers in the Gospel, we all have a call to the Christian faith and our responsibility now is to work hard and seriously according to the will of God so that finally we receive what Jesus himself has promised us; that is eternal life.
Bring us, O Lord God,
at our last awakening
into the house and gate of Heaven,
to enter into that gate and dwell in that house,
where there shall be
no darkness nor dazzling, but one equal light;
no noise nor silence, but one equal music;
no fears or hopes, but one equal possession;
no ends or beginnings, but one equal eternity,
in the habitations of thy glory and dominion,
world without end.
John Donne (1572 - 1631)
In the Gospel this Sunday Jesus says, ‘If two of you on earth agree to ask anything at all, it will be granted to you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three meet in my name, I shall be there with them.’ In these words, Jesus gives us a powerful encouragement to use intercessory prayer.
The Lord himself is telling us that we ought to ask God directly for the things we need. Maybe we might start out by asking for material needs but anyone truly committed to the spiritual life will surely move on from these sorts of prayers to others more outwardly directed.
We move on and in time we find ourselves asking God for other things such as protection for our loved ones or for peace in the home or for the welfare of others or that the dead may rest in peace. We find ourselves too praying for more general things such as peace in the world or food for the hungry. So, while we are young, we might pray mostly for ourselves and our own needs but as we get more mature, we focus more and more on the needs of others.
However, we should take Christ’s words at face value and pray for absolutely anything we need whether it be for ourselves or for others. God may not grant all that we ask at the particular time we want it, but what we will be doing is entering into a dialogue with him. And this is the most important thing of all. Every Christian ought to be in constant dialogue with the Lord. As we go about our daily duties we should be continually thinking of God and asking him questions and telling him of our needs. This is the very best way to come close to him. Father Alex
Jesus Christ, the Borrower
The people of the world have known, and still know, their need of a Saviour. When he comes, he comes as one in need.
He is born in a borrowed stable, and learns the trade of a borrowed father. He eats and sleeps in borrowed homes, preaches from borrowed boats, enters a capital city on a borrowed donkey.
He shares his last supper in a borrowed room. Betrayed for borrowed money he is aided with his Cross by a borrowed shoulder. He borrows a home for his mother, and is buried in a borrowed tomb. Risen and alive in power, he is still a borrower: He wishes to borrow you and me.
In our Gospel today Jesus asks his disciples the question, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ This question is probably the most important question ever posed. Everything depends on the answer we give to this vital question.
Various answers were given according to what the disciples had heard the people say, but then Peter comes up with the right answer, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.’
The important thing for us is to echo the same words as Peter uttered on that great day. We need to make his statement of faith the basis of our own faith.
When we say the Creed at Mass each Sunday, we are reminding ourselves of the truths we professed at our Baptism and Confirmation. We are reiterating the fundamental beliefs of the Church of which this one simple phrase is the basis: ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.’
Father of night, Father of day
Father who takes the darkness away
Father who teacheth the birds to fly
Builder of rainbows up in the sky
Father of loneliness and pain
Father of love and Father of rain.
Father of day, Father of night
Father of black, Father of white
Father who built the mountains so high
Who shapeth the cloud there up in the sky
Father of time and Father of dreams
Father who turneth the river and stream.
Father of grain, Father of wheat
Father of cold and Father of heat
Father of air and Father of trees
Who dwells in our hearts and our memories
Father of minutes, Father of days
Father of whom we most solemnly praise.
For Catholics, the feast of the Assumption of Mary reflects the belief that Mary was taken up body and soul into heaven.
However, you would be disappointed if you were looking for a text in the Bible about how and where Mary died. The last we hear of her is when she is praying with the Apostles at Pentecost (Acts 1:14). Indeed, St Paul refers to Mary only once in all his many letters and even there she is not named. In his letter to the Galatians, he says ‘When the appointed time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman to redeem the subjects of the law.’ (Gal 4:4). Rather today’s feast represents what the church has concluded was the fitting end to Mary’s life.
It was as early as 431 at the Council of Ephesus that Mary was declared Mother of God. However, even though Catholics had believed in the doctrine since earliest times, it was only in November 1950 that Pius XII solemnly defined the teaching that Mary was assumed into heaven.
help me to spread your fragrance everywhere I go.
Flood my soul with Your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly,
that my life may only be a radiance of yours.
Shine through me, and be so in me
that every soul I come in contact with
may feel your presence in my soul.
Let them look up and see no longer me, but only Jesus!
Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as You shine,
so to shine as to be a light to others;
the light, O Jesus will be all from You;
none of it will be mine;
it will be you, shining on others through me.
Let me thus praise you the way you love best,
by shining on those around me.
Let me preach you without preaching,
not by words but by my example,
by the catching force
of the sympathetic influence of what I do,
the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to you. Amen.
John Henry Cardinal Newman
WHAT GOD HATH PROMISED
God hath not promised
Skies always blue,
All our lives through;
God hath not promised
Sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow,
Peace without pain.
But God hath promised
Strength for the day,
Rest for the labour,
Light for the way,
Grace for the trials,
Help from above,
Darnel is a common weed in Palestine and indeed around the world. The seed of the darnel is easily mistaken for wheat and the two plants are indistinguishable until they have ripened. This means that they are easily confused for each other, hence the believability of the conclusion drawn in the parable that it had to have been an enemy who had sowed the darnel among the wheat.
Wheat and darnel are so alike that darnel is even known in some places as false wheat. The major difference between the two plants is that darnel is highly toxic and when consumed can result in a kind of drunken nausea which in some cases can be fatal. In fact, the Latin name for darnel is lolium temulentum; lolium is the genus and the description temulentus means drunk or intoxicated.
You can see that any farmer would take great care to plant only good seeds. And also, that farmers would burn darnel whenever it is discovered so that no seed remains to contaminate the next harvest.
We can see from this that the Parable of the Darnel is one that would have been well understood by the people at the time of Jesus. Of course, what is less clear to them would have been Jesus’ interpretation which he gives only to his disciples. He tells them that the wheat stands for the good subjects of the Kingdom of God and the darnel for the subjects of the Evil One.
Jesus knows which is which and warns us that there will be a time of judgement and that we will be dealt with according to where our loyalties lie. While we still have time, we had better make sure of our true allegiance. We need to decide which side we are on: the side of Christ or the side of the Evil One.
Father Alex McAllister SDS