A reflection of the Scripture readings for Sunday, October 5, 2005. The symbolism in the readings and Psalm for this Sunday is very apparent. In the first reading Israel is compared to a vineyard and God is the owner. Despite doing everything right for the vineyard, putting it in fertile land, spading it, removing stones, building a watch tower, etc., the vineyard did not produce good fruits. God abandoned the vineyard and allowed it to be overrun by invaders.
In the Gospel reading Jesus is also comparing the people of Israel to a vineyard. They had not learned anything yet and had killed servants (prophets) sent previously by the owner. Jesus even says that their final outrage will be to kill the owner's son outside the vineyard's walls. This vineyard will be taken way and given to new tenants who will finally produce good fruit.
I used to have a large vegetable garden and I learned that the best way to grow healthy plants was not to focus on the plants themselves, but on their environment. They needed to have rich soil, with the right alkaline levels and moisture. Fertilizer was to feed the soil, allowing micro-organisms to thrive and feed the plants. Instead of spraying the plants with insecticide I planted other plants near them that repelled bugs.
Likewise, the best way for us to produce great fruit for the Lord is to surround ourselves with people and situations that will help us focus on God's love and help us live good Christian lives. To have a good theological foundation for our lives and to seek good role models and teachers. To avoid situations that could tempt us into hurting God and others. God has given us everything we need to produce great spiritual fruits. We must now act, moved by love, and produce it.