Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking,
“They will respect my son.”
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another,
“This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.”
4 October 2020
Memorial of St. Francis of Assisi
Brothers and Sisters,
Respect, honor, and praise are due to the Son! In today’s first reading, the Prophet Isaiah uses the visual of a fertile hillside vineyard to remind listeners the Lord created the world with care and love. Still, as wild grapes are produced, rather than a choice crop that was seeded, nurtured, and allowed to grow, he gazes upon his creation with sadness. Isaiah intended his message to heighten awareness of a sinful people and awaken renewed faithfulness in God.
In our Gospel reading, Jesus’ listeners would have recognized this Isaiah reference as he continued with the vineyard analogy and introduced a landowner making great efforts so his vineyard might produce abundantly. Having entrusted this work to his tenants, the owner sends his servants to collect his rightful share of the harvest. However, instead of complying, the tenants abuse and even kill the servants, denying their landowner’s rights.
After the tenants ignore and abuse his servants, Jesus inserts an incredibly important detail; the landowner sends his Son to settle his affairs. Ultimately, the landowner’s heir meets the same fate as the servants — death. As Jesus and his disciples make their way towards Jerusalem and knowingly, his cross, Jesus is intentionally preparing them for his death, aware that those with power will reject and kill him. Still, nonetheless, he will rise, becoming our cornerstone.
Today, the cornerstone of a parish is a personal relationship with Jesus, as we encounter his intimate love for us in the sacraments and prayer. If we do not know Jesus and recognize the Son, how will we offer him the fruits of our labor due to God the Father? Equally, if we are not grounded in the wisdom of God, how certain will our efforts be in line with God’s Will to build his kingdom here on earth?
Eight centuries ago, St. Francis of Assisi was called by God to “right the ship.” In a day when much ignorance and disregard for the Lord persisted–particularly in the clergy and leadership of the Church–Pope Innocent III had a powerful dream of Francis, supporting the Church or Lateran Basilica, which was tottering and ready to fall”.
Relating this vision to Francis, the future Saint thought the Pope’s call to action was for him actually to repair the structural Church building. In time, Francis would realize his vocation was to reignite the human institution of the Churchs’ faithful. Upon this discovery, Francis welcomed his call with deep conviction, embracing a life of physical poverty so he might give of himself entirely to others, caring for the sick and poor, as if they were Christ.
His simple and authentic life of faith ultimately fulfilled Pope Innocent the III vision, impacting the Church and the world in extraordinary ways. To such an extent, many non-Christians hold Francis in esteem. St Francis’s home of Assisi’s has become a place associated with true peace and ongoing dialogue among Christians seeking unity and political leaders seeking lasting accord.
In choosing his Papal name, Pope Francis certainly honors this humble and profound Saint. In a world filled with many distractions, our Pope also recognizes the need to embrace simplicity, grounding our lives in a relationship with Jesus, seeking to invite others into that relationship.
Look for Pope Francis’ latest and third encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, being published this day. While I have not yet seen the text, I believe its title meaning “All brothers and sisters,” will indeed positively impact all people of goodwill, just as his namesake, St. Francis, has had an impact on all people he was called to serve.
Last week Archbishop Lori shared a letter with me marking the beginning of our parish’s participation in the Pastorate planning process. Following the vision of Lori’s 2015 pastoral letter A Light Brightly Visible, the planning effort will begin in the new year and continue the work of FOUR, the OLPH Discipleship Pathway, with an ongoing focus to form Missionary Disciples through our parish and in our community. OLPH is blessed with parishioners of tremendous faith and generous gifts who serve our mission together. In these next steps, we reflect on how we will continue to rebuild the Lord’s Church through our members’ talents and service. May the Lord bless our efforts and send the Holy Spirit to inspire our community to produce modern-day saints!
Important considerations for this week:
- “Sign up” for Mass for October 10 and 11. Register here. Next Sunday, the Archbishop’s Delegate to our parish and the region, Deacon Christopher Yeung, will join us for the 9:00 am LiveStream Mass. Even if you join us for an in-person weekend Mass, I encourage you to view the 9:00 am live stream and later pray with Deacon Yeung’s homily.
- As we prepare for late fall/winter weather, we once again ask you to share your view regarding our Sunday Mass schedule. We hope to hear from you, which is why I encourage you to fill out this short survey by Monday, October 5, at 5 pm.
- In the call to Live the Gospel of Life, I encourage participation and support for our online “Baby Bottle” annual drive, supporting the Columbia Pregnancy Center. You will recall from years past our Respect for Life team would hand out baby bottles for you to take home, pray over and return with donations from your family. While the baby bottles will not be present, the need is still great as we pray for the protection of all life beginning from conception. The child in the womb deserves our love and protection. Thank you to all who make a choice for life accessible by providing for the needs and welfare of mothers and fathers who are expecting a child.
- For those who have lost a child, in the womb, or at the time of birth, the Archdiocese of Baltimore has a beautiful ministry, Holy Innocents: Ministry to Families who have lost Children to Miscarriage. To learn more about this ministry, or, if you, or someone you know, could use this support, reach out. You are not alone in your grief. The helpline is (410)547-3142 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- As we begin October, a month dedicated by our Church to the Respect for Life, we invite you to visit our newly created OLPH Respect for Life webpage for more opportunities to advocate, support and pray for the dignity of life from the moment of conception, until natural death.
- On Wednesday, October 7, the Church celebrates Our Lady of the Rosary. In the midst of this pandemic, I encourage parishioners to continue to call upon Mary’s intercession for our Nation and World. The Fatima Movie released a few weeks ago and is currently streaming may be a great way for families and individuals to mark this month dedicated to Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary. Another fantastic opportunity to celebrate is by connecting with the Rosary Congress this week. They are hosting Adoration at the Basilica of the Assumption in Baltimore, as well as evening confessions and Mass with the Fathers of Mercy. To learn more, check out the Rosary Congress flyer or at the Archdiocesan website.
- Pope Francis published his apostolic letter “Scripturae Sacrae affectus” marking the 1600th Anniversary of the death of St. Jerome on September 30. Its first words, “Devotion to sacred Scripture” (or more literally affection for), reminds us of the central role of God’s Word in our lives. St. Jerome is known for translating the Scriptures into Latin, which today may seem archaic, but it made the Bible more accessible in his day. Today with our electronic gadgets, we are rarely a few moments from accessing the Bible, whether in the daily readings or the various books. I encourage you to develop a goal of praying with the Scriptures each week, and eventually, each day.
- To acknowledge Catholic Schools’ Faculty and Staffs’ hard work, Archbishop Lori declared a day off on October 7 for the Archdiocesan Catholic Schools, including OLPH School. Thank you to our dedicated teachers and our families, who remain committed to Catholic education and helping our students learn and grow.
- Amid this election season, I encourage all parishioners to commit to the principles of Civilize It. This initiative sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops asks you to pledge civility, clarity, and compassion. Sadly, many of our leaders and those running for office do not demonstrate these values.
- For your assistance, the below highlights some “deadlines” regarding voting, yet for more information go to elections.maryland.gov.
- Register to vote online by Tuesday, October 13
- To vote by Mail, request your ballot by Tuesday, October 20.
I recommend receiving the ballot by mail as the ballots printed at home cannot be automatically scanned, and has to be manually entered (in addition, no return postage is included in this option).
- Early in-person voting begins Monday, October 26, until Monday, November 2, from 7 am to 8 pm. You may vote at any location in your county (Howard County, for instance). The State of Maryland list is located here.
- Election Day in-person voting is on Tuesday, November 3, from 7 am to 8 pm (voters in line at 8 pm will be able to vote). The relevant State of Maryland list for election day is located here.
Please keep our election in your prayers, discern your vote, and vote as a faithful citizen.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.
In the Lord,
Rev. Michael S. Triplett