Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay, WI
Reflection for Oct. 4, 2020

Reflection for Oct. 4, 2020

Good grapes

God's vineyards  given to you and me  may require creative attention during isolation 

by Sister Ann Rehrauer

This weekend the rest of the Church celebrates the Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time.

For my religious community, Sunday is the solemnity of St. Francis, patron saint of thousands of Franciscan men and women around the world, and patron of those who care for earth. Our readings this Sunday connect us to wisdom from the natural world.

The First Reading and the Gospel use the image of the vineyard – a symbol of God’s people. In the Isaiah passage “the vineyard is the house of Israel and the people of Judah are his cherished plant.” God had done all that could be done for the people, and instead of producing a harvest of justice and good deeds, there was wickedness instead.

I don’t know anything about growing grapes, but research told me that you need the right combination of well-drained soil, enough sunlight, well-timed pruning, enough space to spread, and moderate temperatures to yield a good harvest of table grapes or grapes that produce good wine.

The Gospel picks up the image of the vineyard, as Jesus tells the parable of the landowner who planted and cared for the vineyard (with some of the same language from the Isaiah reading). In this parable, it was not the vineyard that failed – good grapes were produced. But it was the tenants, who were supposed to gather the harvest for the landlord, who failed in their duty. Wicked tenants killed the servants and eventually murdered the owner’s son, rather than hand over what they owed. The chief priests and elders listening to the parable knew that Jesus was speaking of their predecessors who killed the prophets and of the listeners themselves who would eventually take his life.

You and I are both the vineyard and the tenants who care for the vines. We are responsible for producing sweet (or tart) grapes – the fruit of righteousness in our own lives. But we are also in charge of making sure we tend the soil, bask in the sunlight, irrigate our surroundings, and prune what isn’t helpful so we can return a bountiful harvest to God.

In these days when we feel cut off and separated from physical contact with familiar support systems, we need to ponder over WHO and WHAT can provide the things we need at this time to flourish in a spirit of gratitude – and how we can offer these same gifts to others in similar circumstances.


10/02/2020 6:58 am

Regarding: "Harvesting all the gifts-and-fruits-of-life that were given by the ONE-Who-Created-and-Gave-All, and are to be returned to the Same ONE, with an abundance of 'new food, ' 'new wine,' and 'new life' having been grown and produced by our attentive, nurturing care ---"

Take a long, slow walk with the HARVEST MOON these evenings, nights, early morns ......... Gaze upon her beauty, her grace, her loving and steadfast care and attention upon this Earth ..... especially so during these most Tumultuous Times ..... And let Her Speak to you -- with you -- in your heart -- from Her Heart ........ She is a Good Teacher ..... a Wise, Insightful, and Inspiring Friend ..... L I S T E N .... L E A R N .... L O V E ......... in Gratitude for ALL She Is for Us ........ She calls us to The Harvest ......

How do you ........ I ........ WE respond ..... ?'


"Harvest us, HOME, O G O D, with all your saints ........"

Father Bill jacobs
10/02/2020 7:24 am

Dear Sister,

Thanks for your thoughtful Reflection.

It's a difficult year for the Vineyard and a trying year for those who work in it. May we continue to be blest by God's Never-ending Love & Mercy. Peace be with you dear Folks! Father bill

Cindi Brawner
10/02/2020 8:50 am

Sr. Ann, thanks for your timely words. I needed to read this today. Thank you and stay safe.


10/03/2020 9:38 am

Blessings on you and all Franciscans as you tend the vineyard, leading the way for all of us. Sending love & peace.

10/03/2020 10:13 am

Thank you Sister Ann for sharing such a down to earth approach of the Gospel and how we can all relate.

As I pictured the vineyard- I thought of that huge garden the Sisters had down below the hill at the old Motherhouse and how you have cultivated a society of faith and hope to all you encounter through the planting of your seeds!

Thanks for all you do!

Diann Wimmer
10/03/2020 3:11 pm

Ann, in your reflection, you certainly "put us to work " in the vineyard of the Lord. Thank you for reminding us that there is so much to do in the care and attention of others during these challenging times. The needs are tremendous and many are losing hope. Indeed we are called to tend and to care for others.

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