Sunday, October 5, 2014

“The will of God is not something you add to your life. It’s a course you choose. You either line yourself up with the Son of God…or you capitulate to the principle which governs the rest of the world.”

“Even though Christ Himself would not deliver us from the power of the Totalitarian State, as He did not deliver Himself, we must see His purpose in it all. Maybe his children are being persecuted by the world in order that they might withdraw themselves from the world. Maybe His most violent enemies may be doing His work negatively, for it could be the mission of totalitarianism to preside over the liquidation of a modern world that became indifferent to God and His moral laws.”― Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, (Characters of the Passion: Lessons on Faith and Trust)

Gospel Text: (MT 21:33-43)
Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people:
"Hear another parable.
There was a landowner who planted a vineyard,
put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower.
Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey.
When vintage time drew near,
he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce.
But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat,
another they killed, and a third they stoned.
Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones,
but they treated them in the same way.
Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking,
'They will respect my son.'
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another,
'This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’
They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?"
They answered him,
"He will put those wretched men to a wretched death
and lease his vineyard to other tenants
who will give him the produce at the proper times."
Jesus said to them, "Did you never read in the Scriptures:
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes?
Therefore, I say to you,
the kingdom of God will be taken away from you
and given to a people that will produce its fruit."

Upon reading today’s Gospel the question I ask myself is not, "do I recognize the messenger of God when he appears?" but rather "am I producing the fruits of the kingdom of heaven?"

Now when I ask this kind of question I find it easy to become worried or stressed. How do I even know what the fruits of the kingdom of heaven are? St. Paul, in his epistle to the Philippians (PHIL 4:6-9), gives us great instructions on how to be sure we are producing the fruits of the kingdom of heaven. The first step? Don't be anxious! The second step: in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make our requests known to God. We need to pray with a fervent heart to God our Father for the wisdom, the grace, and the strength to do His will.  Then, the fruits of the kingdom of heaven will flow from our actions.

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