Begin with a few moments of quiet.
The intention is to open yourself to the presence of God within you and among those gathered.
Invite all present to sit comfortably.
When sitting comfortably, take three deep breaths, as you breathe in feel your lungs filling all the way up, when they are full slowly release your breath and feel your lungs emptying out fully. Repeat this three times.
Now return to breathing normally and make the sign of the cross:
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Invite each person present to take a few moments to reflect on:
Where in the past week did I encounter God in my life?
Where in the past week did I inhibit God in my life?
Allow time in quiet for this and then, after a few moments, invite those present to share on this, if they are comfortable to do so.
If you like to have some quiet music playing during this click below.
Introduce the Gospel
On this Sunday we celebrate the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
The risk for Christians today is that we read the parable complacently, because it clearly refers to Jews and Christians in the first century. But it is not only in the past that the leadership of God’s project has changed hands, so to speak. Down through history, more committed groups have challenged the established Church—they can attract by more exciting worship and by a closer living of the Gospel.
The hard words of St Paul to the Gentile Christians in Rome may help to shake us up: For if God did not spare the natural branches, perhaps he will not spare you. (Rom 11:21)
Read the Gospel – Matthew 21:33-43
Read the Gospel aloud, even if you are on your own.
Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people, ‘Listen to another parable. There was a man, a landowner, who planted a vineyard; he fenced it round, dug a winepress in it and built a tower; then he leased it to tenants and went abroad. When vintage time drew near he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his servants, thrashed one, killed another and stoned a third. Next he sent some more servants, this time a larger number, and they dealt with them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them. “They will respect my son” he said. But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, “This is the heir. Come on, let us kill him and take over his inheritance.” So they seized him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?’ They answered, ‘He will bring those wretches to a wretched end and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will deliver the produce to him when the season arrives.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the scriptures: It was the stone rejected by the builders that became the keystone. This was the Lord’s doing and it is wonderful to see? ‘I tell you, then, that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.’
Reflect on the Gospel
Sit quietly now for a few moments and allow the images created by hearing the Gospel to emerge. Use some quietening music again if you wish
When you are ready, ‘sit with’ one or more of the following questions to open up different elements of this Gospel reading.
- The target audience of this allegorical parable are the Jewish chief priests and elders portrayed here as rejecting Jesus and his teaching, and as a consequence losing out on what God was offering them. It is a story of opportunity for life presented and rejected, and they lose out in the process.
How important have you found it to recognise and accept opportunities for growth, development and new life when these were presented to you?
- The parable is also a cautionary tale about the destructive effects of greed – doing violence to the rights of others and eventually destroying the greedy themselves.
What attitude towards possessions has helped you to be at peace in yourself and at peace with others?
- The vineyard of the Lord is an image for God’s people. As we look at the vineyard we have been given, we can ask ourselves “are we good tenants?”
Recall times when you have been a good tenant, and reached out caringly for those around you.
- “It was the stone rejected by the builders that became the keystone. This was the Lord’s doing and it was wonderful to see”. Sometimes a person not highly regarded plays a key role in a project, and it is wonderful to see.
Can you recall examples of this?
Close the time of Prayer with the Our Father
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Take a moment now to bring to mind those you want to share peace with, family, friends, those where your relationship is broken.
Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,
graciously grant peace in our days,
that, by the help of your mercy,
we may be always free from sin
and safe from all distress,
as we await the blessed hope
and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen
Fr. Kieran O’Mahony offers a scriptural analysis on the Readings in Written or on Video
The Spirit of God is seeking to create a newness in our lives, that calls us to a fresh wholeness that requires much letting go of what we have known, and co-creating with God an undreamt-of future for our church, for our world and for ourselves. This does not mean forgetting the past, which has brought us to the present.
The Gospel life is about a new future in God. In an incarnational, evolutionary universe nothing is complete and God is still creating. We are a central part of this creation which is happening in our midst.