First reading: Isaiah 5:1-7.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 79(80):9, 12-16, 19-20.
Second reading: Philippines 4:6-9.
Gospel: Matthew 21:33-43.
Link to readings.
The First Reading, from the prophet Isaiah, likens the house of Israel to the Lord's vineyard which he loves.
The Psalm shows how the Lord protects this vineyard planted by his own hand.
The apostle Paul, in the Second Reading, takes up this theme. He encourages those at Philippi to be confident that their security can only be found in the Lord's nurturing care of them.
The parable of the wicked tenants (Gospel) shows that even when the Lord's plans are seemingly thwarted, God can turn all to good.
This week, we are encouraged, despite our worries, concerns and troubles, to remain in the peace of God, which is so much greater than we could ever understand. It will guard our hearts and minds.
Philippians 4: 6-9
As always, I begin my time of prayer slowly.
It may help to note how I am feeling. Perhaps I am coming to prayer with particular worries or concerns. My heart and mind may be restless.
However I feel, I simply take note and hand over everything, for the moment, into the Lord's care.
Having become as still as I can, I read the text gently.
I pay attention to anything that seems to touch me in some way.
There are some lovely words here:
peace, true, noble, good, pure, love, honour, worthy, praise. What strikes me, as I try to rest in the God of peace?
I read a second time ... noting, again, where I am moved.
Is the Lord wishing to say something to me...? reveal a new insight...?
or perhaps confirm something I have felt before?
What is this peace that is so much greater than anything I can understand? I pause, and ponder.
I may wish, after a while, to look at any worries I brought to prayer.
I think on Paul's words 'there is no need to worry'. I may feel I need something at this moment... or perhaps I need to let go of something.
I speak to the Lord about this in a spirit of thanksgiving.
When ready, I close my prayer by making a slow sign of the cross, as I renew my trust in God's promise of peace.
Matthew 21: 33-43
I read the text prayerfully, asking the Lord to help me listen to God's word through this passage of Scripture.
Where, or to whom, in the reading, do I find myself drawn? I ponder...
Am I receptive to God's voice through the messengers he sends?
There may have been occasions when I have not been open to others... or, conversely, I may remember times when I have felt able to welcome others, even when it has cost me in some way...
Perhaps I can recall a time, when, like the landowner, I put my heart into something, only to see it rejected.
I talk about all this with the Lord who, even now, asks me to tend his vineyard. I listen to him. How do I feel?
In time, I take my leave, and with thanks I end by praying, Our Father...
Prepared by St Beuno's Outreach in the Diocese of Wrexham