Year A: 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
First Reading: Isaiah 5: 1-7
The vineyard was often used as a symbol for Israel and here Isaiah describes all the energy that God had invested in His beloved vineyard.
He had planted her on fertile soil - dug the soil - cleared away all the stones - fenced it - dug a press - built a tower - everything His vineyard needed was in place. Unfortunately, the fruit that His vineyard bore was not what He had the right to expect for all His labours.
Over generations, God had called on His people to act with justice - and yet has been rewarded with bloodshed. He had asked for integrity - but heard only the cries of distress of those who were oppressed and dispossessed.
And so, God withdraws His protection of Israel - and leaves her open to the ravages of those around her - even to the harshness of the climate.
The symbol of the ravaged vineyard spoke eloquently of what awaited Israel - for she was subject to invasion - despoilment - and, worst of all Exile.
Isaiah sees this as an inevitable consequence of the persistent refusal of those in authority to implement the Law. Because they failed to live in accordance with the requirements for justice and integrity, they sealed the fate of Israel - and placed themselves outside Godís protection.
Interestingly, the Exile was to affect those in power most - the poor, by and large, stayed in Israel - though under foreign rule. Perhaps, here is another example of the Lord hearing the cry of the poor - and protecting them from the worst of the retribution visited on those who had the power to make a difference.
What does it mean for me?
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