Vatican City, 5 October 2014 (VIS) – “Today the prophet Isaiah and the Gospel employ the image of the Lord’s vineyard. The Lord’s vineyard is his 'dream', the plan which he nurtures with all his love, like a farmer who cares for his vineyard. Vines are plants which need much care”, said the Holy Father in his homily during the Holy Mass celebrated this morning in the Vatican Basilica to inaugurate the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on “Pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelisation”.
“God’s 'dream' is his people”, continued Francis. “He planted it and nurtured it with patient and faithful love, so that it can become a holy people, a people which brings forth abundant fruits of justice. But in both the ancient prophecy and in Jesus’ parable, God’s dream is thwarted. … The temptation to greed is ever present. … Greed for money and power. And to satisfy this greed, evil pastors lay intolerable burdens on the shoulders of others, which they themselves do not lift a finger to move. We too, in the Synod of Bishops, are called to work for the Lord’s vineyard. Synod Assemblies are not meant to discuss beautiful and clever ideas, or to see who is more intelligent. They are meant to better nurture and tend the Lord’s vineyard, to help realise his dream, his loving plan for his people. In this case the Lord is asking us to care for the family, which has been from the beginning an integral part of his loving plan for humanity”.
“We are all sinners and can also be tempted to 'take over' the vineyard, because of that greed which is always present in us human beings. God’s dream always clashes with the hypocrisy of some of his servants. We can 'thwart' God’s dream if we fail to let ourselves be guided by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit gives us that wisdom which surpasses knowledge, and enables us to work generously with authentic freedom and humble creativity”. The Holy Father concluded, “to do a good job of nurturing and tending the vineyard, our hearts and our minds must be kept in Jesus Christ by 'the peace of God which passes all understanding'. In this way our thoughts and plans will correspond to God’s dream: to form a holy people who are his own and produce the fruits of the kingdom of God”.