Parable of the vineyard
Friday, March 17, 2017
2nd Week of Lent
1st Reading: Gen 37:3–4, 12–13a, 17b–28a
Gospel: Mt 21:43, 45-46
Jesus said to the chief priests and elders, “Listen to another example: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. When harvest time came, the landowner sent his servants to the tenants to collect his share of the harvest. But the tenants seized his servants, beat one, killed another and stoned another.
Again the owner sent more servants, but they were treated in the same way.“Finally, he sent his son, thinking: ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they thought: ‘This is the one who is to inherit the vineyard. Let us kill him and his inheritance will be ours.’ So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
“Now, what will the owner of the vineyard do with the tenants when he comes?” They said to him, “He will bring those evil men to an evil end, and lease the vineyard to others who will pay him in due time.”
And Jesus replied, “Have you never read what the Scriptures say? The stone which the builders rejected has become the keystone. This was the Lord’s doing; and we marvel at it. Therefore I say to you: the kingdom of heaven will be taken from you and given to a people who will yield a harvest.”
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard these parables, they realized that Jesus was referring to them. They would have arrested him, but they were afraid of the crowd who regarded him as a prophet.
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
Today’s Gospel presents two opposing paradigms. The owner of the vineyard looked upon his only son as a powerful figure to protect his interest. The tenants on the other hand saw in the same son the opportunity to get rich. Thus they killed the son – the only heir to the property – believing that with him dead the vineyard will be theirs. What a crooked paradigm! But that’s how far greedy people’s logic goes.
Paradigm is determined by the values one holds dear. The owner valued justice and peace. That’s why he tried one peaceful means of dispute resolution, albeit too risky to the life of his son. The tenants valued getting rich at whatever cost. They prevailed. But the Gospel ends with this nagging question: “What will the owner of the vineyard do with the tenants when he comes?”
By narrating this parable Jesus was reminding the people about the covenant between God and Abraham. As the contract between the owner of the vineyard and the workers ended up in disaster so the covenant between God and the chosen people suffered tragic ending. It will end differently with us if we put our values in order. – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M.
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