Weekly Message

Rev. Leo M. Goodman III Pastor

September 28, 2014

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

A huge thank you to Anne Costa for guiding us through our annual Parish Mission, “Divine Courtship: How God woos us and wins our hearts.” As Pope Benedict has said, the practice of Lectio Divina can truly lead to “ a new spiritual springtime” in our lives. May our practice of this form of prayer lead us always closer to the One who can truly satisfy our hearts.

Today’s first reading once again presents protests that God isn’t fair. Why does He punish with death one who begins in virtue but falls into iniquity, while granting life to the wicked one who turns from sin to what is right and just? Jesus takes up this question in today’s parable. The first son can represent all those who, by their sin, refused at first to serve in the Lord’s vineyard, in His Kingdom. However, at the preaching of John the Baptist, they repented and did what is right and just. The second son represents Israel’s leaders who said they would serve, but they refused to believe John when he told them that they must produce good fruit as evidence of their repentance. Of course, we too have been preached to. We, who have heard the truth, must also make a decision to believe, to trust and to follow today.

While we are reminded once again that God’s ways are unfathomable, the psalmist today also points out to us that God’s ways are taught by God to the humble. Jesus exemplifies this humility, a profound humility beautifully proclaimed by St. Paul’s words to us today. Unlike Adam, the first man, who in his pride grasped at being God, the new Adam, Jesus, humbled Himself to become a slave, obedient even unto death on the Cross. He shows us the path to the Father and the way back to the vineyard, the Kingdom.

In humility we come to see that it’s not about our amassing past good deeds but about our entering into an abiding relationship with God and His triune life. This life is a sharing in the love and mission of Christ; it is a life lived in the midst of the vineyard, a real breaking forth of the Kingdom of God with us being at the heart of God. This is eternal life! Let us never presume in our pride that we have no need to hear the voice, the Word, the Word of God. Such pride casts us among those who too quickly turn from virtue to vice with the passing of days. Like the second son, we may hear ourselves saying “Yes” to God, but lack the ears to hear and the heart to follow up on the invitation. Our deeply committed “Amen” is today and always truly the difference between life and death. No doubt, we have a real choice. Let us use our freedom to speak our wholehearted “Amen” to God! It’s everything the Father is waiting for.

Catechism Question of the Week: In teaching us about prayer, Jesus insists on all of the following except ________. A) Conversion of heart, B) Faith, C) Filial boldness,  D) Removal of all sins, or E) Watchfulness (see CCC 2608-2612) 

With family, friends and those you meet, please discuss the following Question of the Week: In what ways does this parable shape our understanding of stewardship?

In Christ’s Peace,

   Fr. Leo  
Rev. Leo M. Goodman III
Pastor