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  • Writer's pictureElpidio Pezzella

The Vineyard of the Lord

«Now let me sing to my Well-beloved a song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard: my Well-beloved has a vineyardon a very fruitful hill».

(Isaiah 5:1 NKJV)

A canticle describes the Lord's vineyard in the book of Isaiah (5:1-7), with a parallelism recalling the people of Israel and which today could represent the spiritual people of God. The text tells of the love that God has not only collectively for His people, but for each person without distinction. He gives everyone equal value, regardless of office or task performed. In fact, Jesus shed his blood indiscriminately for everyone. A tale of the desert fathers says that if one of our brothers is touching the sky with his hands, we must grab him by the feet and bring him back to earth, suggesting that we should all walk side by side. In the song, three activities are listed that are representative of the work he does in each one: he placed a hedge, removed the stones, and then planted excellent quality vines. None of us, not even the church, will be the perfect vineyard. Jesus proclaimed himself the vine from which excellent wine is made in the presence of the Father. We are the wine that God wants from his vineyard, that harvest which in the presence of the Father will be the glory of the Son, since we are the grapes produced by the death of Jesus, that seed that was sacrificed for us. It is from him, the vine to which we are connected, that we will bear fruit for his glory.

Jesus also told of a vineyard in which there was a fig tree, also entrusted to the wise care of a winemaker. Faced with the evident fact that in the third year the tree did not produce fruit, the owner of the land asked the winemaker to cut it down. The latter could have simply obeyed, respecting the master's decision and not having any scruple for the work done so far. Instead, moved deeply, he proposed an alternative solution: "‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it.And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you cancut it down” (Luke 13:8-9), thus taking time. The figure of the winemaker could therefore represent all those in the church (the vineyard of the Lord) who have responsibilities towards someone. By "responsibility" we mean any service or job performed for the good of the other, individually and collectively. Usually we tend to load - perhaps I should say, unload - the responsibility on the principal ministers, burdening them with any solution to any community need. What was the attitude of the winemaker in front of a fig that seemed beautiful to look at but that did not produce fruit?

Faced with the temptation of the master who told him to cut it, the Scripture places before our eyes a pearl, that is, that the Lord's tenants do not know how to cut, much less do they know how to cut down. They do not destroy, but work for the construction, recovery and growth of the plants that are in the work of the Lord, indiscriminately and in the same way. Furthermore, the winemaker in the parable appears to be deeply struck by a feeling of revenge: he feels responsible for that tree, he cannot pass over it, limiting himself to obeying an order, which does not involve his person, but takes life. to one of the trees entrusted to his care. In looking into our vineyards, how many times as servants or managers could we feel guilty of having on some occasion resisted the Spirit, opposed our good reasons to a work in contrast with our reasoning. Every tree felled is a defeat for everyone, for the owner, the winemaker and the tree itself. And this is why our winemaker interceded so that he would expect: "You have waited three years, I ask you for another one". He not only prayed and interceded but he also took responsibility.

This winemaker supports the friend of Isaiah's song, who owns a vineyard on a fertile hill and works it with love and passion, equipping it with the necessary to make an excellent wine. Everyone knows that for a winemaker the vineyard, which takes years to bear fruit, requiring a lot of hard work and a lot of care, is a bit like a bride. Unfortunately, that of singing has to deal with unexpected results. I hope that in the face of the temptation to lift your finger to judge or open your mouth to seek useless justification, everyone will arm themselves with the passion and dedication of the winemaker, who takes time to get to work.

Weekly Bible Reading

Plan #41

October 04, Isaiah 20-22; Ephesians 6

October 05, Isaiah 23-25; Philippians 1

October 06, Isaiah 26-27; Philippians 2

October 07, Isaiah 28-29; Philippians 3

October 08, Isaiah 30-31; Philippians 4

October 09, Isaiah 32-33; Colossians 1

October 10, Isaiah 34-36; Colossians 2

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