Bear Fruit That Will Remain

Homily for 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)
October 7-8, 2017
Sacred Heart, EGF – 5:00 PM
Holy Trinity, Tabor – 8:00 AM; St. Francis of Assisi, Fisher – 10:00 AM

Focus:             He has chosen you to bear fruit.
Function:       Bear fruit that will remain.


vineyard

We’ve been hearing a lot about vineyards over the past couple of weeks.

Two weeks ago, we heard the story of the landowner who went out at various hours of the day to hire laborers to work in his vineyard. He went out at 6:00, 9:00, noon, 3:00, and 5:00 and hired laborers to work in his vineyard. “Go into my vineyard”, he told them. He gave them what, in his eyes, was just, although the laborers who were hired early in the day did not feel it was fair, even though most of them received more than they could have hoped for.

Last week, we heard the story of the Father who told his two sons: “Go and work in my vineyard today.” One said “I will not” but changed his mind and went. The other said “Yes, sir” but did not go.

This week, we hear about more vineyards.

The first reading speaks of how the Lord worked hard to cultivate a vineyard that would bear abundant fruit, but despite all of his efforts, despite all of the grace that he poured upon it, it would not bear fruit. The only thing to be done was to tear it down. This vineyard was compared to the Israelite people – the people whom God had chosen, called out of slavery in Egypt, brought into the Promised Land, and worked countless signs and wonders in their presence so that they would trust Him. They didn’t. They constantly rebelled, they sinned, and they bore bad fruit.

The Gospel, like the first reading, speaks of how the Lord worked hard to cultivate a vineyard that would bear abundant fruit. This time, it does bear fruit, but the tenants in charge of it are greedy and won’t give the landowner the fruit. They work against the landowner. They rebel against him and even kill his son. They wouldn’t share the fruit that the vineyard bore. So the landowner took it away from them.

Brothers and sisters, throughout the pages of history, this story of the vineyard has repeated itself time and time again. The book is now opened to our page. We are given everything we need to bear abundant fruit. Christ calls us to bear abundant fruit.

I have chosen you from the world, says the Lord, to go and bear fruit that will remain.

He has chosen us to bear fruit, and he has equipped us to do so. He equips us with his grace. He gives us the gift of His Spirit, which we receive in Baptism and Confirmation. He calls us to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit to bear fruit.

Saint Paul’s letter to the Galatians tells us that the fruits of the Holy Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

If we are responding to the grace that God is pouring upon us at every moment, we will see these fruits abound in our lives. If we aren’t seeing these fruits, perhaps something in our spiritual lives needs to change.

Jesus said, By your fruits you will know them…Every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit… (MT 7:15-20).

Are you bearing good fruit?

Are you bearing the fruit of love,
love that is more than a feeling,
love that pours itself out in service to others?
If you aren’t experiencing this fruit, consider finding a way to serve others, to make a gift of yourself to others. Don’t just think about it, do it.  You say you don’t have time.  I say that if you make time you will find time, and you will find more than time, you will find love, joy, peace, and happiness…

Are you bearing the fruit of joy,
a joy that abides even amid the stresses that are part of daily living,
a joy that comes from knowing that you are a beloved son or daughter of the Father,
a joy that comes from knowing that your eternal inheritance is in Heaven?
If you aren’t experiencing this fruit, I encourage you to take up the practice of counting your blessings each day. See the gifts that God has given you and your heart will be filled with joy.

Are you bearing the fruit of peace,
a deep peace that is unshakeable even amid the waters of the most turbulent storm,
a peace that comes from spending time in the presence of the Lord?
If you lack peace in your life, consider spending one hour per week in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Come any day during the week and sit before the Tabernacle, or come on Tuesday and gaze upon the Lord while he is enthroned upon this altar – the Lord who said to his apostles “Peace I leave you, my peace I give you.” I promise you it will bear the fruit of peace.

Are you bearing the fruit of patience, a willingness to bear the burdens of another, to put up with another’s foolishness because they are willing to put up with yours?

Is your life marked by the fruits of kindness and gentleness, fruits that grow in lives secure in the strength of their identity as one created, redeemed, and loved by God?

Is your life bearing the fruit of generosity? Would others say you are a generous person? If you want to grow in generosity, take a leap of faith a give heroically of your time, talent, or treasures. Commit to something even if you don’t feel you have the time or money to do so. Ask the Lord to provide for you. He will teach you dependence on him and your generosity will bear abundant fruit.

Is your life marked by the fruit of faithfulness? Do you keep your commitments to God and to the people in your life? If you want to grow in faithfulness, pick a target – an area where you want to be faithful – and ask someone to hold you accountable, to check-in from time to time and ask how you’re doing.

Is your life a life of self-control? Are you a man or woman of temperance, of moderation? If you want to grow in self-control in an area of your life, whether it be anger, food, drink, or sexuality, consider the practice of fasting from something. We have one will – when we deny ourselves in one area of our lives, that strengthens our will to be temperate in other areas of our life. Practice fasting in some area and you will find yourself bearing the fruit of self-control.

I have chosen you from the world, says the Lord, to go and bear fruit that will remain.

He has chosen you to bear fruit that will remain.
By your fruits, you will be known.

Are you bearing good fruit? Or do you need to make a change in your spiritual life?

He gives you all you need.
You are not alone in this.

He gives you the fruit of his very Body and Blood from this altar to strengthen you so that your life can bear abundant fruit.

Blessed are those who are called to the supper of the Lamb.

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