Bread In The Wilderness

Father Carl Diederichs

All Saints Catholic Church

The scripture readings given to us this week are: Isaiah 5: 1-7, Philippians 4: 6-9 and Matthew 21: 33-43. The first and third reading center on a “vineyard.” However, the way we have come to interpret these readings can leave us wondering where the “Good News” is.

In the first reading God speaks through Isaiah about what God’s expectations were for the Chosen People. With all God had given them, this beautiful vineyard, the expectation was that the people would harvest an abundant crop of grapes, but no, they were wild and sour grapes. God expected from his cherished vineyard, “judgement’, not bloodshed, “justice,” not an outcry. God wanted justice from His people, God wants all people to live an abundant life, but His “cherished plant” turned sour and unjust and people suffered while others lived with amble food and wine to drink.

The parable deals with injustice and murder. Those tenants who were put in charge of the vineyard came to believe it belonged to them. And they would drive away or kill anyone who laid claim to it. Remember, we are talking about God’s vineyard, meant for all.

Today we can claim all of creation as God’s vineyard and the fruits of the vineyard are to be shared, especially with the poor and those hungry now. Unfortunately, so many who claim to be part of God’s People are acting like murderers. They do this when they despoil the poor and trample on their rights as human beings.

Do we feel we have been placed here to manage God’s vineyard? Are we at all interested in being good stewards of the gifts God has given to us for others and ourselves?

Today there are millions of people asking for a fundamental right: the right to eat; the right to have a decent home, the right to health care, the right to a living wage, not minimum wage, the right to be educated, the right to live wherever they want, the right to freedom and security.

In chapter 25 of Matthew Jesus gets very specific about the Kingdom, the Vineyard, and how our role of feeding the hungry and clothing the naked is at the heart of how we treat Jesus. We do drive Jesus away; we do kill Him whenever we drive away anyone who needs the basic necessities of life.

If we do these things, if we are good stewards of God’s gifts we will have the peace of God within us.