June 4, 2018

Gospel MK 12:1-12
Jesus began to speak to the chief priests, the scribes,
and the elders in parables.
“A man planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it,
dug a wine press, and built a tower.
Then he leased it to tenant farmers and left on a journey.
At the proper time he sent a servant to the tenants
to obtain from them some of the produce of the vineyard.
But they seized him, beat him,
and sent him away empty-handed.
Again he sent them another servant.
And that one they beat over the head and treated shamefully.
He sent yet another whom they killed.
So, too, many others; some they beat, others they killed.
He had one other to send, a beloved son.
He sent him to them last of all, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’
But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’
So they seized him and killed him,
and threw him out of the vineyard.
What then will the owner of the vineyard do?
He will come, put the tenants to death,
and give the vineyard to others.
Have you not read this Scripture passage:
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes?”
They were seeking to arrest him, but they feared the crowd,
for they realized that he had addressed the parable to them.
So they left him and went away.
“Jesus began to speak to the chief priests, the scribes,
and the elders in parables.”
Jesus used parables to teach lessons.
The lesson in today’s parable was clear to the religious leaders, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders.
They understood what Jesus was saying: God had entrusted His people, the Israelites, to their hands. But they had abused His trust, making what belonged to God their own.
“They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long.” Matthew 23:5
Jesus’ words were like a sharp knife that cut to the quick, the most sensitive part of their conscience.
The Pharisees and religious leaders were fearful that if the people understood and believed what Jesus was saying, they would lose their power and control over them. Their fear made them angry and they wanted to kill Him.
This is an interesting parable as it applies to the Jewish leaders of Jesus’ time. But the true value of any parable lies in our ability to use the story as a means to examine ourself.
Jesus is our best example: All of His good works, suffering and sacrifice were a constant effort to point others to the love that our Father has for us, His children.
As Christians (followers of Christ), we have been entrusted with making God’s love known on earth.
As I make my best effort to live as a Christian, I must be careful to avoid the trap the Pharisees and religious leaders fell into and gently deflect the well intentioned admiration of others.
I should always point to Jesus Christ as the source of all good things and give the glory to God.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:16