A landowner planted a vineyard
Friday Second Week of Lent
Reading :Matthew 21:33-46
‘Listen to another parable. There was a land-owner, who planted a vineyard,
put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watch tower. Then he
leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the harvest time
had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. But the
tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another.
Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them the
same way. Finally he sent his son to them, saying, “They will respect my son.”
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, “This is the heir,
come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.” So they seized him, 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 said to him, ‘He will put those
wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who
will give him the produce of the harvest at the harvest time.
Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the scripture:
“The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone, this was the Lord’s doing.
and it is amazing in our eyes?”
Therefore, I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls. When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard this parable, they realised that he was speaking about them. They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.
In this parable, Jesus speaks about the trust that the landowner places in his tenants and how they respond to this trust. He has entrusted his prized vineyard to them when he leaves home to attend to his affairs abroad. He has no reason to suspect that they will not take good care of it so that it will bear its precious produce in due season. However, all is not well when the servants go to collect the produce; the faith that the landowner had in the tenants has been misplaced and their response to both the servants and the masters’ son is difficult to comprehend. The tenants have no respect for the kindness that has been shown to them by the landowner. Neither do they respect human life. The servants are met with violence and the heir to the kingdom is murdered. The wrath of the land-owner falls upon the wicked tenants and they suffer the loss of their own lives.
Jesus uses the parable to remind us that He was the cornerstone rejected by the people but the one to save the people from their sins and ask us to live in right relationship with him. We are reminded of the great trust that God the Father has placed in us by gifting us with our faith. We are asked to nourish this faith, to share it with others and to allow it to bear good fruit for the glory of God and the good of humanity. However, if we do not nourish our faith with daily prayer and good works, we are at risk of losing it; we may fall outside of the kingdom of God and this would sorely grieve the heart of God.
We are asked to be accountable for the gifts and talents that God has entrusted to us. We are to use all our talents and not hide them in the ground. (Matthew 25:25) Gratitude to all who support us on our journey through life is a realistic way of thanking God for his daily goodness to us. We receive our ‘daily bread’ (Matthew 6:11) in so many ways and our song should be one of joyful thanksgiving. (Psalm 95:2) I am reminded to ask myself, what is my response to God’s benevolence and to me? What attitudes or actions do I need to take to express thanks to our creator for all his loving kindness? The words of St. Luke remind me, ‘From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.’ (Luke 12:48)
Lord, you have placed me in your vineyard to serve you. May the light of faith burn ever more brightly in my life; May it draw people to you; May the joy of knowing you as the landowner of the Kingdom of God be theirs, Amen.