Isaiah 5:1-7; Ps 80:9, 12-16, 19-20; Philippians 4:6-9; Matthew 21:33-43
The readings this weekend are very challenging, hard to grasp and most people will not want to hear them even if they are in church on Sunday. I could go in a negative direction that God will destroy the vineyard because of lack of good grapes (fruit) even our country. I choose to see all the blessings that God gives the beautiful vineyard he has planted and cares for.
God has already given us this beautiful planet, his vineyard. All we need is here if we access it for his glory and not our own. We are the choice vines; God doesn’t make junk. By baptism we were planted in his church, which is the good soil. Our water comes from the throne of God, our Father and Jesus, the Lamb of God. We are to bear fruit abundantly and our leaves used to heal the nations (John 10:10; Revelation 22:1-2). In Baptism we get special graces to grow in holiness during our life. In Confirmation we get different graces to help minister to others so they can come to know Jesus and all his blessings. As we use these gifts we produce more fruit than St. Paul lists in this section of his Philippians letter today. See Galatians 4:22 for the nine fruits. They only grow if we use the other gifts for ministry.
Well, you ask, how do you bear good fruit? Daily we need to get under the spout where God’s glory comes out.
1) Pray to the Holy Spirit to turn the lights of understanding on in your mind. Then read the Gospels for 15 minutes every day. Start with St. John to see Who Jesus, Our Father and the Holy Spirit are.
2) Ask Jesus to Baptize you in the Holy Spirit so you know Jesus personally.
3) Set up a daily prayer time to talk to God personally. You may try to get to daily Mass more often, read the gospels, do some adoration, say the chaplet of Divine Mercy and the rosary.
4) Read or listen to something that will help you grow in our faith.
5) Ask the Holy Spirit for discernment to see the attacks and infiltration of so many evil spirits that are trying to destroy our vineyard. Get into God’s watchtower and say the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, one of our mighty protectors.
6) In addition to Sunday worship, get committed to some group of dedicated Christians. They will help you grow and stay on track with God. It is very difficult to do this alone.
By doing these things we shall surely produce the great fruit that Jesus wants to see in our lives. Be of good cheer. It has pleased Our Father to make us part of his kingdom, bearing wonderful fruit for him. Eye has not seen, ear has not heard nor has it entered our minds how much God has prepared for us. (1 Corinthians 2:9) “All you who are thirsty, come to the water,” Jesus. (Isaiah 55:1)
Please keep praying for the safety of our country, persecuted Christians worldwide and the conversion of the Middle East. Pray, pray and pray. Stay as close to God as fish do to water. Have a great week,
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2014 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)