Sunday, October 8, 2023

Episode 1 October 07, 2023 00:09:19
Sunday, October 8, 2023
Sundays with Bishop Ken
Sunday, October 8, 2023

Oct 07 2023 | 00:09:19

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Little Books of the Diocese of Saginaw

Show Notes

Today's Gospel from Matthew explores the parable of the vineyard owner. Bishop Ken invites us to consider it in the realm of our own lived experience. 

Sundays with Bishop Ken is produced by Little Books of the Diocese of Saginaw. Support this ministry. 

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Episode Transcript

Gospel Mt 21:33-43 A reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew 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." The Gospel of the Lord It seems to me that we don’t often think in terms of the emphasis of this gospel. This gospel is about producing something. The owner of the vineyard in the parable – the problem was they wouldn’t give him the produce. And at the end Jesus says that “the kingdom of God will be taken from you and be given to a people that will produce its fruit at the proper time.” Now an occasion like this is when we think about what a parish is, what we are meant to be. A parish is not a place that we come to receive service. There are services, but a parish is a community that comes together to produce something. Which is very different from the way we go to other organizations. Now it’s almost crass to speak in terms of productivity because that can be a corporate term and so forth. But think of it this way: God put a goodness in you and God wants that goodness to blossom and to have an effect. And when that goodness comes together in a group, then it can have a great effect. A great effect on us, just by being together and supporting one another and experiencing the goodness and the constant reform that we all need to do. And you could brainstorm … what do you think a parish is meant to produce? Well, it’s meant to uplift all of us by coming together. It’s also meant to be, by the convergence of one another, the Body of Christ. A visible, strong presence of Christ today – visible to others – which means that we’re meant to produce a togetherness that has a certain impact. This is the football season. Think about, say, the clarinet player in a college marching band. You’re part of a group. You know how at halftime they do a formation? You’re part of that and we need to think of a parish like a group like that. It’s not like coming together … like people together in a movie theater. We’re together, linked with one another, and we have an impact on each other like a family at a Thanksgiving dinner – a large family. We are also meant to produce – Jesus talks about the reign of God. We’re supposed to produce effects “out there.” We are a people who care about the poor. We care about minorities. We are the Body of Christ, reaching out to people around us. We’re also a people who care about our city, our county, our state, our country, the world. You say, “what effect can we have on that?” Well, Jesus told us about the mustard seed. This earth is habitable for about a billion more years. A small effect with the trajectory of that span of time is a huge effect and we are meant to produce effects upon our city … our county … our state … our country … our world. I don’t think that we generally put it in that focus, but this parable that Jesus tells is so striking. And those final words He says to the chief priests and the elders of the people, the leadership of the Jewish institution: “The reign of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.” And I close with the description of the reign of God on the last Sunday of the Church year, coming in a few weeks, when we celebrate the feast of Christ the King and we talk about His kingdom. This is in the preface: As king he claims dominion over all creation, That he may present to you, his heavenly father An eternal and universal kingdom. A kingdom of truth and life. A kingdom of holiness and grace. A kingdom of justice. A kingdom of love and peace. May we all dedicate ourselves to produce the goodness that God has placed in each of us on the wide scale of the reign of God.

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