27th Sunday Reflection: Peace with God and Harmony with Creation
Franciscan Reflections From The Hermitage – 27th Sunday In Ordinary Time Year A – Peace with God and Harmony with Creation
(The Parable of the Vineyard highlights the theme of God’s ownership and care over God’s creation. The vineyard symbolises God’s kingdom, and the tenants represent humanity’s responsibility to steward it. Matthew 21:33-43)
On the 4th of October, we celebrate the feast day of our seraphic father St Francis and we reflect on his words contained in the Canticle of Creation:
Be praised, my Lord,
for Sister Earth, our Mother,
who nourishes us and sustains us,
fruits and vegetables of many kinds
and flowers of many colours.
The Canticle of Creation: Saint Francis of Assisi
We also have sprouted from the Earth, our Mother, with God whom we call Father breathing the spirit of life into creation. God is the gardener who plants the Garden of Eden… the one who plants, nourishes, and prunes. God walking with us in the cool of the evening to delight with us in this great beauty. God as landowner, protector, and the vintner to gladden our hearts. This beautiful image of God with us, sharing a glass of wine at sunset, delighting in the fragrance of this verdant and fertile garden.
The Genesis saga unfolds with God entrusting the earth and its resources to the common stewardship of humanity to take care of them, master them by labour, and enjoy and share their fruits. The goods of creation are destined for the whole human race and the good of all.
Co-operation, community, and fraternity between God and humanity, and between humanity and creation, falters, and the new Genesis after the destruction of our world is complete, begins when the waters subside… Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard. (Gen 9-20)
Again, and again we are faced with the same saga of the destruction of creation and the renewal of Eden… civilisations and empires are built, reach their zenith then crumble to dust. This is the cycle that continues as we forget our Genesis, a dark night of the soul follows, and then a new Genesis.
Today the church teaches that in our use of things, man and woman should regard the external goods they legitimately own not merely as exclusive to themselves but common to others, in the sense that they can benefit others as well as themselves. The ownership of any property makes its holder a steward of Providence, with the task of making it fruitful and communicating its benefits to our families and to others.
What has been the harvest that I have produced? Jesus’ words are a reminder that we too are called to participate in producing a harvest. Participation in the realisation of God’s Kingdom is necessary for life that is verdant and fertile. Have I perhaps been squirrelling away the produce necessary to sustain the lives of others?
As we enter spring here in South Africa, the vineyards are waking to new life. Tiny buds appear on the bare branches and before long the whole vineyard is a blaze of delicate green soaking up sunlight and air. Deep in the soil, the roots drink in the rain and search for the minerals needed to form the rich fruit of the harvest.
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