The collective, a vineyard, is the focus of this week’s readings. In Hebrew Scripture, the chosen people are often pictured as a vineyard, such as in Psalm 80, and in three prophets, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Isaiah (today’s reading). No wonder Jesus also uses that image in today’s Gospel. Both Jesus and Isaiah are cautioning their listeners not to assume that the vineyard of a People (Ezekiel), or a vineyard representing a Religion (the Jews of Jesus’ time), can last forever. There were self-destructive tendencies operating in both Ezekiel’s and Jesus’ vineyards. Today we find ourselves in the United States in a similar situation regarding the Catholic Church. Measured by support, affiliation, attendance, the U.S. Catholic Church is in serious decline. Our “experts” suggest various reasons and solutions, but remedial actions seem slow to emerge. Right now the Synod on Synodality is beginning in Rome. It will be taking the temperature of the Church worldwide and making recommendations about it. Check your diocesan website for more information about this important event. Meanwhile, these Scriptures ask us: How can we better tend the vineyard of the kingdom right where we are?
— Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia