In the Gospel Reading, Jesus tells a chilling story about rebellious tenants. It is for each of us to give God the fruitful harvest He expects. If not, why not?
LIVING AS STEWARDS IN GOD’S VINEYARD
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells an unsettling parable. A landowner plants a vineyard, puts a hedge around it, digs a wine press and builds a tower (Matthew 21:33-44).
The vineyard represents the true people of Israel whom God has chosen.
No sooner is everything perfectly readied than the landowner leases it to tenants and departs on a journey. The listeners of Jesus’ parable understand that are the caretakers of God’s vineyard.
At harvest time, the landowner sends servants to the tenants in order to obtain his produce (v. 34). However, those entrusted with responsibilities to care for the vineyard no longer are faithful. The landowner dispatches scores of servants who go to the tenants only to suffer a host of terrible ends – beating, killing and stoning (vv. 35-36).
In a final effort to restore right relationship with those entrusted with the care of the vineyard, the landowner decides to send his own son (v. 37).
Jesus’ self-reference is clear.
The harrowing story ends with the tenants selfishly scheming to take possession of the son’s inheritance. Towards achieving this end, they seize the son, throw him out of the vineyard and kill him (vv. 38-39).
Suddenly Jesus shifts from telling a story illustrating past events to predicting future events. “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” (v. 41).
God’s Son will be taken out of the city and slain. The Cross is close at hand, but the rejected stone will become the keystone to a new building – the new people of God to whom the vineyard will be entrusted: His Church.
Left unchecked, temptations for wealth, power, pleasure, and honor will dupe us to think the vineyard is ours.
We are stewards; God is the landowner.
The opponent relentlessly tempts us to think we are deserving of land and its rightful owner. Should it happen one day that we find it all taken from us and given to others whom God considers worthy, we only will have ourselves to blame.