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.’
Gospel for the 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time
It is extraordinary that the chief priests and leaders of the people do not seem to see themselves in the parable. The episode reminds of just how hard it is for us to see our own faults, even when they are laid in front of our very noses!
The parable is surely retold in Matthew’s version to, as it were, foreshadow the role of the Church in the wake of the death and Resurrection of Jesus in sharing the Good News of God’s mercy and love. A task entrusted to Israel is, as it were, passed on to others.
Yet how often Christians too fail to live up to their vocation, fail to bring the promise to harvest. We surely miss the point of the continued sharing of the parable and of the tragedy of so many failing to honour Jesus as Son of God, if we use it to bad mouth others. As we see their failings, the parable surely is intended to help us also know and repent of our own.
- Where in your life does selfishness and greed cause you to turn from God and His will.
Discord. Church of St Vincent de Paul. Marseille. (c) 2017, Allen Morris.