Readings: October 8, 2017, 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

All readings from The Message Bible © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

  • Isaiah 5:1-7

        Looking for a Crop of Justice

I’ll sing a ballad to the one I love, a love ballad about his vineyard:

The one I love had a vineyard, a fine, well-placed vineyard. He hoed the soil and pulled the weeds, and planted the very best vines. He built a lookout, built a wine press, a vineyard to be proud of. He looked for a vintage yield of grapes, but for all his pains he got junk grapes.

“Now listen to what I’m telling you, ou who live in Jerusalem and Judah. What do you think is going on between me and my vineyard? Can you think of anything I could have done to my vineyard that I didn’t do? When I expected good grapes, why did I get bitter grapes?

“Well now, let me tell you what I’ll do to my vineyard: I’ll tear down its fence and let it go to ruin. I’ll knock down the gate and let it be trampled. I’ll turn it into a patch of weeds, untended, uncared for—thistles and thorns will take over. I’ll give orders to the clouds: ‘Don’t rain on that vineyard, ever!’”

Do you get it? The vineyard of God-of-the-Angel-Armies is the country of Israel. All the men and women of Judah are the garden he was so proud of. He looked for a crop of justice and saw them murdering each other. He looked for a harvest of righteousness and heard only the moans of victims.

  • Philippians 4:6-9

Brothers and sisters: Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

  • Matthew 21:33-44

         The Story of the Greedy Farmhands

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: “Here’s another story. Listen closely. There was once a man, a wealthy farmer, who planted a vineyard. He fenced it, dug a winepress, put up a watchtower, then turned it over to the farmhands and went off on a trip. When it was time to harvest the grapes, he sent his servants back to collect his profits.

“The farmhands grabbed the first servant and beat him up. The next one they murdered. They threw stones at the third but he got away. The owner tried again, sending more servants. They got the same treatment. The owner was at the end of his rope. He decided to send his son. ‘Surely,’ he thought, ‘they will respect my son.’

“But when the farmhands saw the son arrive, they rubbed their hands in greed. ‘This is the heir! Let’s kill him and have it all for ourselves.’ They grabbed him, threw him out, and killed him.

“Now, when the owner of the vineyard arrives home from his trip, what do you think he will do to the farmhands?”

“He’ll kill them—a rotten bunch, and good riddance,” they answered. “Then he’ll assign the vineyard to farmhands who will hand over the profits when it’s time.”

Jesus said, “Right—and you can read it for yourselves in your Bibles: ‘The stone the masons threw out is now the cornerstone. This is God’s work; we rub our eyes, we can hardly believe it!’

“This is the way it is with you. God’s kingdom will be taken back from you and handed over to a people who will live out a kingdom life. Whoever stumbles on this Stone gets shattered; whoever the Stone falls on gets smashed.”

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