Father Rodney Torbic

August 13 / 26, 2018

The Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Mt. 21:33-42

Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? (KJV)

The Church determined this parable of the Lord Jesus Christ has a permanent place during the Divine Liturgy on the Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost. The Gospel readings throughout the year have an established order.

The scheduled Gospel readings provide certainty for individuals attending the Divine Liturgy. The Gospel readings are the same in all parish churches and monasteries. The current Gospel reading is rich in imagery.

A landowner is the primary figure of honor. Vinedressers are expected to work the landowner’s vineyard. Trust is involved as the landowner goes away. The vinedressers remain behind. The landowner is expected to return.

The landowner’s absence was not permanent. The vinedressers had the responsibility to honor the landowner’s expectations. The vinedressers had the responsibility to prepare for the landowner’s eventual return.

The Lord Jesus Christ ascended to heaven after the Resurrection. His glorious Second Coming is expected and is prayed for daily. Believers have a responsibility to take care in the way they live in preparation for Christ’s return.

Holy Apostle Paul is very explicit in his words to the Romans regarding the judgment to come. The Holy Apostle Paul said: “There is no partiality with God.” (Rom. 2:11)

The landowner sent his servants to receive the fruit from the vineyard. He expected that he would receive the fruit as he was the property owner. The vineyard was created due to his effort.

The Lord God blesses each individual with talents, gifts and resources. Each individual is expected to be a good steward of the God-given talents, resources and gifts.

Talents, resources and gifts from God are to be used in God-pleasing ways. Each person will eventually answer to the returning Christ for the way he or she has been a steward of blessings received.

The Lord Jesus Christ said: “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.” (Mt. 16:27)

The servants coming for the fruit of the vineyard represented the landowner. Respect shown to the servants would be respect shown the landowner. Disrespect shown the servants would be disrespect shown the landowner.

The way representatives of Christ are treated in daily life is a reflection of treatment of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ said: “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.” (Mt. 10:40)

The time of life is precious and never returns. Individuals have only one opportunity to use the time of life. Sincere repentance is necessary before earthly life comes to an end.

Continuous repentance is necessary because individuals never know when earthly life will end or when Christ will return for the final judgment. Preparation for Christ’s return is something serious believers keep in mind.

The vinedressers had their personal interests at heart. The vinedressers rejected the authority of the landowner. The vinedressers were hostile towards the representatives of the landowner.

The vinedressers persecuted and killed the landowner’s representatives. How often in contemporary times do we see and hear about Christ’s representatives being persecuted, beaten and killed?

The persecution of Christians and the destroyed churches and monasteries in Kosovo in recent years are vivid examples of animosity. The way contemporary society is a steward of the earth reflects the degree of respect for Christ.

When the earth and resources of the earth are pillaged and abused, disrespect and rejection of Christ is evident. When babies are aborted and human life is not treated with respect and dignity, Christ is rejected and turned away.

The Gospel continues to be preached throughout the world. The question is why more people do not listen. The question exists as to why there is not faithful adherence to the Holy Gospel.

The landowner sent more servants. The second wave of servants received the same cruel treatment as their predecessors. Christ was crucified. Christ’s followers during the ensuing centuries have often experienced horrible deaths.

The Serbian Orthodox Church in recent years recognized many martyrs experiencing horrific deaths within the past century. Persecution exists for Christians even in the present century.

Centuries of evidence exist verifying the goodness of God. Greater adherence to the teaching of Christ is needed today. Today is the day for serious repentance and preparation for Christ’s return and final judgment.

August 13 / 26, 2018
The Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost.
Holy Martyr Hyppolitius.
Apodasis of Transfiguration.

Fr. Rodney Torbic
Hidden Valley, Pennsylvania

Back to St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Carmichaels - Home Page