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This Sunday we hear another of Jesus’ vineyard parables reminding us that, as Christians, we are workers in his vineyard. It is a reminder to us of our special privilege but also of our special responsibilities as Christians. God has created everything out of love. He created the human race as his masterpiece of love. When we come to know him through faith we live our life in response to his love by cooperating with nature and his design so that we may work in his vineyard to bear much fruit. This is the fruit of charitable works, helping the poor, visiting the sick and imprisoned. It is also the fruit of the family where parents generously have children and grown them up in the faith. This is the essence of the Christian life. But we cannot live the Christian life and do works of love if we don’t first believe that God loves us.

He is not our boss but our loving Father. I hope that today you leave the Mass renewed God’s love for you. When we experience his love in our hearts we are motivated to do acts of love. But if we forget that God loves us then we lose our motivation, the Christian life becomes a burden, a bunch of rules to follow, and so we stop being faithful, we stop being fruitful, we stop serving the needs of others, Christian couples stop having children, different Catholic groups stop helping the poor and we become greedy. When the tenants became greedy, they eventually lost respect for respect for human life and killed the land owner’s son. The result is they lost their inheritance, and so God gave the care of his vineyard to others.

Jesus uses this parable to tell the Jews that they will lose their inheritance if they did not change. And so the message applies today to Catholics. The sad reality is that many Catholics become like those evil tenants in the parable and begin to reject the Church’s teaching on many things including the gift of Life. Today we see wide acceptance even among Catholics of Abortion, euthanasia, artificial procedures that prevent or end life. That is why Jesus said “the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.” Jesus doesn’t care if we are Catholics from America or Mexico, if we speak English or Spanish, if we are white or brown. He is going to give his Church to the people who show that they love God by producing fruit.

October is Respect Life Month when we recognize the fruit of God’s labor of love in creating Human Life. And so that is why we Christians respect all life. We respect the environment which supports life. We see all people from all races and cultures, all people born and pre-born, healthy and sick, young and old, as great gifts from God, as his masterpieces. If we begin to feel threatened by other people because they threaten our material comfort or they seem lower than us, then we begin to disrespect life itself. But a world that doesn’t value life and promote it at all stages from conception to natural death is a culture of death, as St. John Paul II said. So we need a culture of life.

The greatest way we promote life is through the family. Nothing is more important than the family. That is why the Church so strongly promotes marriage between one man and one woman. To redefine marriage as something else is anti-life because only a man and woman can cooperate with God’s plan to bring new life to the world. And children have the God-given right to have a father and a mother. Jesus said marriage is for life. This permanence keeps the family together and is a powerful witness to the Gospel of Life. Right now in Rome many bishops from throughout the world are gathered it what is called a Synod in order to discuss the family. They are seeking the Lord’s guidance on how to help the family grow and face the modern challenges of divorce and lack of faith. Let us pray for them. Jesus will help us if we ask him. St. Paul said in the second reading, “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” This is the power of prayer. Pray is the answer to all our world’s problems and needs.

October is also the Month of the Rosary. Why pray the Rosary? The Rosary is like a beautiful song that as we sing the lyrics over and over again our minds and souls are lifted up in a different place. The Rosary is like entering into Mary’s Prayer, her song, about Jesus. As we pray she lifts up our spirit into God’s presence and we experience happiness, joy, and peace. That is why the Rosary is called the prayer of peace. Do you have anxiety in your life? Are you lacking peace? Pray the Rosary with your heart and see if you don’t experience a peace that surpasses all understanding.

And the best way to pray the Rosary is as a family. Mother Theresa of Calcutta said “The family that prays together stays together.” Have dinner together and pray before and after the meal. The fruit of prayer is peace and peace enables us to respect one another and all life. Parents thank you for teaching your children how to pray. Thank you for teaching the respect for life. Teach them to pray for the end of the evil of abortion lest they believe the lie that it is o.k. because there are too many people on the planet. Mother Teresa said “that would be like saying there are too many flowers in the field.” God provides if we are faithful to him. And so we need to teach our children about God’s love and about his plan for marriage and family. They need to understand that sexuality is a gift to be celebrated only after the commitment of love in marriage. They must learn not to judge but to help young women who become pregnant before marriage to protect both her life and the life of her child. They must learn that God doesn’t condemn but helps those in need.

There is story of a young girl who became pregnant and her family rejected her and she felt like she had no other option than to end the life of her child. But then a Christian couple took her into their home and she eventually had the baby and gave him up for adoption. Adoption is the loving option. There are many mothers who suffer from abortion but now get healing from prayer and Christ’s forgiveness through groups like PATH and Rachael’s Vineyard. There is another story of a pregnant mother who had a test to show that her child would be handicapped with Downs Syndrome so the doctor, who is supposed to protect life, suggested an abortion. At first the mother was scared but then she prayed and the anxiety went away and she had the peace from God telling her “All life comes from me.” Her baby was born without any handicap. Had she acted on fear then she would have made the wrong choice. However, many children are handicap but are the less valuable or human? Of course not! They are a great gift because they open up our hearts to greater love and care. It is true, our world doesn’t respect life, especially if it is weak or handicapped.

But as Christians we know that all life is sacred. All are welcome in God’s vineyard: People of all races and culture, men and women, the unborn and the elderly, the immigrant, the sick, the handicap. Today let us pray that we become faithful workers in the vineyard who do not work for money but for love of God so that we may produce the fruit of faith and family, love and life, and the peace that can only come from our Heavenly Father. Amen.

St. Bernadette Roman Catholic Church
101 South College Street
Cedartown, GA 30125
(770) 748-1517
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