Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Church Belongs to God

Twenty Seventh Ordinary Sunday Year A

This is MY watch! This is MY book! This is MY Church! You are MY Parishioners! Mine! Mine! Mine!

Easy for us to claim things as ours! When we claim something as ours, we often feel that we have a certain power over it. We can control and manipulate that which we possess. Many parents often think that their children belong to them. Some husbands believe that their wives are their possessions. Others feel that they own their friends. Many of us also may think that the Church belongs to us.

My brothers and sisters, I do not want to disappoint you but I have to tell you sincerely that none of these things or persons belong to us. This is was the mistake made by the tenants of the vineyard in today’s gospel reading. The tenants thought that they owned the vineyard or they tried to wrest control of the vineyard from the owner by beating up the owner’s servants and finally by killing the son of the owner.

When we try to possess something, when we try to control something, thinking that it is ours to own, we will only hurt the other in the process. Your children do not belong to you. They belong to God. They are given to you on trust so that you may learn to care for them, feed them, love them, share your faith with them, and one day when they are ready, allow them to live their own independent lives. Many parents are not willing to let go even when their children have grown up and have families of their own. Parents continue to interfere in the lives of their children and their children’s families and sometimes cause more damage than good.

Husbands, you do not own your wives. You did not buy them from the market. Wives, you too do not own your husbands. You have given yourselves to one another in love. Love never forces anyone to do anything against his or her own will. Love frees us to be the persons God has intended us to become.

Many people also think that they own the Church. Many people think that they have a certain control or possession over a ministry or a group within the Church. We hold on to control by making sure that no one else can take over. It doesn’t matter whether we are able to do the work or nor. Sometimes we may be doing a wonderful job and others may not be able to repeat the kind of work that we are doing, but always remember the ministry does not belong to us it belongs to Christ. Still others are not able to bear fruit but still find themselves stuck in that particular area. They often feel threatened when others who are more capable are interested to join that ministry.

My brothers and sisters, the Church does not belong to any one, it does not belong to us. The Church belongs to God. We belong to God. We are the People God. If we think that it belongs to us, then we will be tempted to control it. If we abuse the trust which God has given us; that which has been entrusted to us will be taken away from us and given to some other just like the wicked tenants in today’s gospel.

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