MARCH 5. LENT. WK. 2. FRI. MT. 21. 33-43
Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people, ‘Listen to another parable. There was a man, a landowner, who planted a vineyard; he fenced it round, dug a winepress in it and built a tower; then he leased it to tenants and went abroad. When vintage time drew near he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his servants, thrashed one, killed another and stoned a third. Next he sent some more servants, this time a larger number, and they dealt with them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them. “They will respect my son” he said. But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, “This is the heir. Come on, let us kill him and take over his inheritance.” So they seized him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?’ They answered, ‘He will bring those wretches to a wretched end and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will deliver the produce to him when the season arrives.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the scriptures:
It was the stone rejected by the builders
that became the keystone.
This was the Lord’s doing
and it is wonderful to see?
‘I tell you, then, that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.’
When they heard his parables, the chief priests and the scribes realised he was speaking about them, but though they would have liked to arrest him they were afraid of the crowds, who looked on him as a prophet.
The central lesson of this reading is found in the phase: “He sent his servants to the tenants to collect his produce”; - in that we are being told God is looking to us to provide him with a return, via love and service, for all he has given us.
In the above parable however it is clear; - the tenants wanted to keep everything for themselves; - failing to acknowledge that everything they had had been provided with had been given to them by the landowner!
This certainly has a parallel in today’s modern world, where the prevailing view is we should use all the gifts we have received for our own benefit; - rather than acknowledging we have duties and obligations to the one who provided them?
And in our case the situation is even worse, as not only do we have to acknowledge the gifts of Creation, but we are also indebted to God for our redemption, via the Passion and Death of his only Son on Calvary.
And Christ makes this point in the parable when he says; - “Finally he sent his son to them. “They will respect my son” he said. But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, “This is the heir. Come on, let us kill him and take over his inheritance.”
And is this not exactly what we do via Pride, Self-love, and Sin, choosing to kill the Son, rather than heed his call to repent; - and acknowledge his love; - by following his teachings?