October 5, 2014
A boy ran home after Sunday Mass and told his mother, “Mom, I want to be a priest.” The mother was so delighted with the news for she had been praying for years that one of her boys would become a priest. “I’m so glad to know, but Kevin, tell me why you want to be a priest?” The boy answered with all eagerness, “Well, I have to go to church on Sunday anyway. I rather stand up there and yell at the people than sit on the pew and listen to horrible yelling he does every Sunday!”
This week your priest and other priests in the diocese will gather in Banff for a few days to “study.” I will beg the authority to give us a priest, any priest who can serve our parish. The main speaker for the study is Tom Smith who will be speaking on the prophets of the Old Testament and how we, as priests, in today’s world are to be Prophets. He will also have two talks on the Book of Revelation and our belief versus those present in today’s world. As a Mormon missionary, he became Christian through the witness of Christians sharing how Jesus Christ had changed their lives and was ordained a Baptist minister. Studying the earliest Christian writings lead him through prayer and study to enter the Catholic Church.
In the First Reading this week the Prophet Isaiah presents the biblical image of Israel as the Lord's vineyard. It speaks poignantly of God's disappointment with the "wild grapes" produced at harvest time. The same imagery is present in Matthew's parable of the vineyard. In fact, Isaiah’s complaint and the parable conclude in much the same way- on a note of disillusionment. Fidelity to God's will produces the abundant harvest. The second reading from St. Paul's letter to the Philippians, exhorting the community to peaceful relationships, has its own sense of serenity and a striking appeal to love and respect whatever in life is wholesome and sound.
Lord, it was you who first planted us on this earth. You fenced us around with the love of our families and friends. Their care towered over us. Under the shelter of this tower we grew in safety and peace. We put our early blossoms, we filled up with leaves. People had great hope for us. You had great hope for us. But now the year of our life is passing. The harvest is approaching. What have we to show? What fruit have we produced? What if, after all this care, we should be found to be without good fruit? What if we have nothing to offer but the sour grapes of indifference, selfishness, and neglect? May you, Lord, have mercy on us, and with your patient urging, help us to return your love and care with the good fruits of our lives.