Dear friends in Christ, last Sunday at the table of the Word, we reflected on the story of the two sons whose attitude served as a template for which Christ invited us in sharing in the mercy of God. Today, we are faced with the parable of the vineyard and its tenants. These parables come to us as an invite from Jesus to change our attitudes towards Him and preparing ourselves for the kingdom of Heaven.
The gospel of Matthew chapter 21 and following, highlights Jesus’ entering into Jerusalem, the cleansing of the Temple, His performance of miraculous activities amongst others. These conscious activities of Jesus, points to the reality that He was truly the son of God. This proclaimed reality and indeed the activities of Jesus, angered the chief priest and Pharisees who had been into this same activities of preaching the word and interpreting the law in the synagogue.
For this singular fact, they plotted amongst themselves and sort for the appropriate time to kill Jesus. Having a fore knowledge of all that is to come, Jesus wills their conversion and then He interprets the action of these Jewish authorities in the lan guage they would better understand. He likens the parable for which He taught them to what Israel regularly involved Herself in as a nation; vine pruning. These Jewish leaders understood clearly that Jesus referred to them in His teachings.
A visible action of theirs noted which Jesus needed to correct is seen in the keeping to the commands of God, they guided the people in such a way that it benefitted them rather than God. In addressing the situation of these people, friends in Christ, God sent a series of emissaries who brought the message of the Father. But then, the gospel passage puts succinctly how these tenants treated these messengers; the first was beaten, another killed, and the other stoned.
Finally, God sent His Son trusting that they would respect Him, yet they killed Him. The calling of the attention of these Jewish authorities to all of their actions was geared towards encouraging them in ceasing the right opportunity of doing good, showing love and mercy which would eventually gain for them the kingdom of Heaven, rather than involving themselves in actions that would most likely make them loose the kingdom of Heaven.
Friends in Christ, our present-day attitude and the manner at which we deal with things pertaining to God matters a lot. We have built for ourselves castles of misguided attitudes that have taken over our minds and prevents us from bringing forth the good fruits of love and mercy as willed by the Father. The landowner in today’s Gospel passage who represents God expects fruitful harvest from those who the land has been entrusted to.
But then, due to selfish interest as fronted by the Jewish leaders who sort to kill Jesus, the tenants were after their own gain which led them to kill the land owner’s son just to take His inheritance. Beloved, we too possess this same attitude as did the tenants of this landowner. We must be ready at all times to guard against selfish interest, working only for peace and above all be grateful to God for his blessings. It is only when these are fervently fulfilled that we see ourselves treading on the right path that leads to lasting peace. May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father and the communion of the Holy Spirit rest and abide with us always. Amen!