Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time - Fr. Pete Iorio
October 8th, 2023 - 8:30 AM
I do not know if this is true, but I read an account that said some lawyers and doctors have problems with people who seek to obtain free professional advice at parties and other social events. It seems that a certain doctor and lawyer were having a conversation during a cocktail party. While they were talking, a woman approached the doctor and complained about a sore leg. The doctor listened, then told her about applying cold compresses and keeping the leg elevated and taking aspirin, etc. After she had gone, the doctor turned to the lawyer and said, “I think I ought to send her a bill, don’t you?” The lawyer said, “Yes, I do think you ought to send her a bill.” So, the next day, the doctor sent the woman a bill… and the lawyer sent the doctor a bill for the advice he gave the doctor. Just an attempt at a little humor, to bring us into the topic of stewardship.
Today’s gospel is one of those cases when Jesus is using greed to make a point. He is addressing this parable to the chief priests and the elders of the people, and it is very obvious that he is indicating that they are the tenants of the vineyard, which is symbolic of the people of Israel. The implications are that the leaders have been greedy and will even resort to violence in order to get what they want instead of serving the entire people of God and helping them work together to bear a lot of fruit.
This is quite appropriate for our focus on stewardship. Jesus reminds us Christians that, since we are the “new” Israel. We are expected to show our gratitude to God by bearing fruits of the kingdom, fruits of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and to give God the Glory for these accomplishments.
If we extend the image of the vineyard and the tenants to our local parish, we can apply Christian virtues, which are necessary for bearing fruit for the kingdom of God. Relationships are built upon trust. Those who contribute to the church need to have confidence that those who have responsibility for overseeing the operations are doing a good job. We want to foster that trust as leaders of the church, which include the clergy, paid staff members as well as key leader volunteers. We work hard to be honest and to give give the best service that we can in order to build up the kingdom. Humility is a virtue that is also needed. As leaders, we follow the example of Jesus, who was a servant leader, and did not lord it over anyone. He trusted the 12 as collaborators, and that is the model that we want to operate from here at Our Lady of Fatima. Transparency is another virtue. We want everyone to be able to see how we are using our shared resources. And I have to say it as I have many times before that our bookkeeper/business manager Dave Prugh is the best I’ve ever worked with. His reports in the bulletin indicate our desire to be transparent. It is with this spirit of cooperation and by putting these virtues into practice that we are able to bear fruit such as paying off our debt this past year. We continue in the same spirit as we look to the future.
While the finance committee works with the parish staff to produce an accountability report which includes numbers of sacraments celebrated and people involved and served in ministry, the living out of the faith in so many aspects cannot totally be quantified or captured by merely reading about it. Our parish stewardship of time and talent is best experienced in the many ministries and services and opportunities that we participate in that make our hearts rejoice, and our spirits soar, knowing that we are working together to build up the kingdom of God, which is the mission of Jesus Christ and his church. I hope that you take advantage of the ministries fair that will go on next weekend. It is called the Harvest of Blessings. Maybe there will be something that God is calling you to take part in as a part of living out your Christian faith and building up the kingdom of God.