October 5, 2014: 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people:
“Hear another parable.
There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey.
When vintage time drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce. But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat, another they killed, and a third they stoned. Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones, but they treated them in the same way. Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’ They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?”
They answered him,
“He will put those wretched men to a wretched death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper times.”
Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures:
The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes?
Therefore, I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.” (Matthew 21:33-43)
Today’s gospel message introduces us to a prosperous business man who decided to build
a splendid vineyard. Of course he expected to make a profit on this investment. But the vineyard’s tenants refused to pay the rent and cruelly abused the owner’s family. The listeners knew that Jesus was also talking about them because they too continually rejected the generous offers God made to them, the chosen people.
This parable is also addressed to you and me.
We have been chosen to work in God’s vineyard — the Kingdom of God — and we are expected to “pay rent.” What is the rent we should be paying? Kind deeds, prayer, obedience are some examples. Can you think of others? Like the people in Jesus’ audience, we may sometimes refuse (or reject) the pay we owe.