In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah presents the house of Israel as the vineyard of the Lord, and the people of Judah His cherished plants. In spite of the Lord’s care, the vineyard never bore fruit.
This beautiful metaphor about God’s love for His people and their failure to respond applies to us today. The vineyard is the symbol of the Church while each of us is a seed planted in it.
Dearest ones, reflecting on this reality brings to our minds the fundamental truth about our lives on earth. God from the beginning has cultivated us as His vineyard meaning that we are not here by chance. He has planned our lives for us and our duty is to follow that plan. St. Paul in the second reading admonishes us not to be anxious about anything but to persevere in prayer and petition.
Reflecting on St. Paul’s assurance that we should not be anxious is challenged by so many evils bedeviling us presently: the mortal challenge to our health, especially the virus that has also gripped our government; the violence on our streets; the economic challenges; our personal struggles in whatever form they are; and so on.
The truth is that Our Lord is still the Emmanuel who is always with us. The world still belongs to God and He wants us to come to Him with prayerful trust. Like Isaiah, Our Lord wants to find some fruit in our lives. If he is to come now, what fruit will he find in our lives? Honor, truth, justice, purity, love, grace, charity, good work, friendship and courage as St. Paul reminded us in the second reading. Or, will it rather be, as Isaiah noted in the first reading, wild grapes of sin, lukewarmness, spiritual mediocrity, vanity, licentiousness, anger, bitterness, and so forth, instead?
As we meditate on these words with regard to our lives, it is important to remind ourselves that whatever the situation of our present life, the Lord is challenging us today not to despair but to embrace Him in order to bear lasting fruit.
As St. Francis de Sales admonishes us: “Do not fear what may happen tomorrow only entrust yourself completely to God. The same loving Father who cares for you today will care for you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it.