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Pastor's Letter 20231008 - 08 October 2023 - Appreciation

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October 8th, 2023

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Parable of the wicked vinedressers

A Message from Father Michael

Today’s Theme:


Reflections on Today’s Scripture

(Isaiah 5:1-7)  Israel is compared to a well-tended vineyard, which fails to produce fruit.

The figure of a vineyard as a symbol for Israel was familiar to Isaiah’s listeners, and so, of course was the meticulous care of their Lord.  By reminding them of that care through the person of the grape farmer, Isaiah recalled for his people the cavalcade of their past blessings: the exodus; the covenant; the conquest; the provident protection; etc.  


(Philippians 4:6-9)  Paul warned the converts at Philippi against anxiety, and advised them as to how they should live, in order to enjoy the peace of God.

Philippi was a Roman city fraught with the worries and troubles of routine living—perhaps made more contentious by the introduction of Christianity.  Paul recommended the power and peace of prayer, along with a life conformed to Gospel values to the entire assembly of believers.


(Matthew 21:33-43)  The parable of the wicked vine-dressers tells of God’s goodness to His people, and of their failure to respond in kind. 

Matthew makes the point that Jesus is not merely musing about grapes and vines, but that He is speaking specifically of God’s own people.  His point is a clear and accurate commentary on Israel’s past treatment of those (the prophets,) who came in the name of the “owner of the vineyard” (God.)  The “stone“ they rejected symbolized the indestructible kingdom set up by God, Himself, that was to supposed to shatter and absorb all previous kingdoms and to last forever.  

Planted by God

Lord, You planted me on this earth;

You fenced me around with the love 

Of family and friends.

Their care towered over me.

In the shelter of this tower, 

I grew in safety and peace.

I put out early blossoms; I filled up with leaves.

People had great hopes for me.

You had great hopes for me.

But now, the year of my life is passing;

The harvest is approaching.

What fruit have I to show?

What if, after all this care,

I had nothing to offer but sour grapes?


This little poem, that I found in one of my commentaries, encapsulates the sentiment in today’s Liturgy.  We have been given a great Church (the “Stone,”) from our Blessed Lord.  We have been made a “royal priesthood” by His having given His life to save our immortal souls from sin.  

History is littered with stories of good tenants and wicked landlords.  Our only recourse (as tenants,) should be to be appreciative, and strive to give thanks to God (our Landlord,) for our wonderful faith.  But so often, we are so ungrateful and fail to see the blessings that are all around us, in nature and in each other.  When we consider how carefully we have been tended by our society, our parents, our loved ones, our many acquaintances, colleagues and friends, we should be bursting with joy for each moment of our lives.  

Yet, we fuss and fume, always struggling to find “something better,” often, “just out of reach,” and fail to appreciate the beauty we already possess.  This is not to say that ambition is, in itself, to be seen as a failing.  Any salesperson worth their salt will attest that setting goals, and then planning for their achievement is part-and-parcel for success in business.  But “success at any cost” is what is being chided, here; success unfairly achieved at the expense of others cannot be seen as “right living.”  When our plans for the future obscure appreciation of the blessings we possess in our present lives, we need to reassess our focus.

Jesus’ mission on earth was to form the Church, a new people of God.  United by submission and obedience to the Father’s will, they were called to live out the fullness of love in earthly life; hoping to enjoy the eternal inheritance of salvation, promised to all the faithful.  

Sadly, we are often like the tenants who sought to obtain the owner’s inheritance, by devious means, (as related in today’s Gospel,) in order to become our own “lord and master.”  There is a pride in the human heart that spurs us to “take control” of our lives in such a way that we find fulfillment apart from God.

Our faith teaches that God’s earnest desire is that the members of His Church listen and commit their lives to His Son, as they hear God’s Word in prayer, Scripture and celebration of the Liturgy.  It is only through Jesus, and in union with Him, that we can recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit.  As we hear that Voice and turn to God, we will “have no anxiety about anything,” and our minds will be raised to heavenly realities, enabling us to think about “whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely and gracious” (Philippians 4: 6-8.)

May God Richly Bless You!


I Need Thee Every Hour.docx

To view a recording of today's Holy Mass, click here:


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Edited by Father Michael
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