October 2, 2011
Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost
FIRST READING: Isaiah 5:1-7
I will sing a song about my friend’s vineyard
that was on the side of a fertile hill.
2My friend dug the ground, removed the stones,
and planted the best vines.
He built a watchtower and dug a pit in rocky ground
for pressing the grapes.
He hoped they would be sweet,
but bitter grapes were all it produced.
3Listen, people of Jerusalem and of Judah!
You be the judge of me and my vineyard.
4What more could I have done for my vineyard?
I hoped for sweet grapes,
but bitter grapes were all that grew.
5Now I will let you know what I am going to do.
I will cut down the hedge and tear down the wall.
My vineyard will be trampled and left in ruins.
6It will turn into a desert, neither pruned nor hoed;
it will be covered with thorns and briars.
I will command the clouds not to send rain.
7I am the LORD All-Powerful! Israel is the vineyard,
and Judah is the garden I tended with care.
I had hoped for honesty and for justice,
but dishonesty and cries for mercy were all I found.
PSALMODY: Psalm 80:7-15
But if you smile on us, we will be saved.
8We were like a grapevine you brought out of Egypt.
You chased other nations away and planted us here.
9Then you cleared the ground,
and we put our roots deep, spreading over the land.
10Shade from this vine covered the mountains.
Its branches climbed the mighty cedars
11and stretched to the sea;
its new growth reached to the river.
12Our LORD, why have you torn down the wall
from around the vineyard?
You let everyone who walks by pick the grapes.
13 Now the vine is gobbled down by pigs from the forest
and other wild animals.
14God All-Powerful, please do something!
Look down from heaven and see
what’s happening to this vine.
15With your own hands you planted its roots,
and you raised it as your very own.
SECOND READING: Philippians 3:4b-14
Others may brag about themselves, but I have more reason to brag than anyone else. 5I was circumcised when I was eight days old, and I am from the nation of Israel and the tribe of Benjamin. I am a true Hebrew. As a Pharisee, I strictly obeyed the Law of Moses. 6And I was so eager that I even made trouble for the church. I did everything the Law demands in order to please God.
7But Christ has shown me that what I once thought was valuable is worthless. 8Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have given up everything else and count it all as garbage. All I want is Christ 9and to know that I belong to him. I could not make myself acceptable to God by obeying the Law of Moses. God accepted me simply because of my faith in Christ. 10All I want is to know Christ and the power that raised him to life. I want to suffer and die as he did, 11so that somehow I also may be raised to life.
12I have not yet reached my goal, and I am not perfect. But Christ has taken hold of me. So I keep on running and struggling to take hold of the prize. 13My friends, I don’t feel that I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead. 14I run toward the goal, so that I can win the prize of being called to heaven. This is the prize that God offers because of what Christ Jesus has done.
GOSPEL: Matthew 21:33-46
33Jesus told the chief priests and leaders to listen to this story:
A land owner once planted a vineyard. He built a wall around it and dug a pit to crush the grapes in. He also built a lookout tower. Then he rented out his vineyard and left the country.
34When it was harvest time, the owner sent some servants to get his share of the grapes. 35But the renters grabbed those servants. They beat up one, killed one, and stoned one of them to death. 36He then sent more servants than he did the first time. But the renters treated them in the same way.
37Finally, the owner sent his own son to the renters, because he thought they would respect him. 38But when they saw the man’s son, they said, “Someday he will own the vineyard. Let’s kill him! Then we can have it all for ourselves.” 39So they grabbed him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
40Jesus asked, “When the owner of that vineyard comes, what do you suppose he will do to those renters?”
41The chief priests and leaders answered, “He will kill them in some horrible way. Then he will rent out his vineyard to people who will give him his share of grapes at harvest time.”
42Jesus replied, “You surely know that the Scriptures say,
‘The stone that the builders tossed aside
is now the most important stone of all.
This is something the Lord has done,
and it is amazing to us.’
43I tell you that God’s kingdom will be taken from you and given to people who will do what he demands. 44Anyone who stumbles over this stone will be crushed, and anyone it falls on will be smashed to pieces.”
45When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard these stories, they knew that Jesus was talking about them. 46So they looked for a way to arrest Jesus. But they were afraid to, because the people thought he was a prophet.