March 6, 2015

Gospel MT 21:33-43, 45-46
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.”
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables,
they knew that he was speaking about them.
And although they were attempting to arrest him,
they feared the crowds, for they regarded him as a prophet.
History is important only to the extent that we learn from it’s mistakes.
We would be foolish to look at this little story as only being about the failure of the Jews to fulfill the responsibilities that God assigned to them.
For God, through Jesus, has handed over to us what he once entrusted to the Jews.
As he had patience with them, he also has shown two thousand years of patience with Christians.
But surely, both as individuals and as a Church, we will stand accountable to God for how well we have accomplished our work of bringing about his Kingdom on Earth.
In a recent discussion on this gospel passage, a young man asked, “What does it mean ‘It will be given to people who will produce its fruit?'”
I told him the “fruit of the Kingdom” is love.
Jesus made it clear, “Love one another as I have loved you.” John 13:34
For Christians to bring about the Kingdom of God on Earth, our love needs to become an action word. Our personal relationship with and our study of God must translate into “acts of love” for our fellow man.
During this time of Lenten sacrifice, an act of kindness to someone who is suffering from the pains of life is more meaningful to God than any act of self denial.
“Faith without works is dead.” James 2:26