March 18th, 2022

The Gospel according to Matthew (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 winepress 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.

Reflection: Of all the rejections that have been experienced throughout the ages, there is one that stands out above the rest.  It’s the rejection of the Son of God.  Jesus had nothing other than pure and perfect love in His Heart.  He wanted the absolute best for everyone He encountered.  And He was willing to offer the gift of His life to whoever would accept it.  Though many have accepted it, many have also rejected it.  

From our perspective, all of us are given a vineyard to tend. Our personal vineyard is our heart and soul. As Steve and I have journeyed through life, we have worked our vineyard together and it has prospered with 2 sons. 

We were responsible for our son’s upbringing in their faith – to come to know God, to grow their faith, and bear the fruits of wisdom and charity. 

They in turn blest us as they received their sacraments. Blessings were also shared when Steve received 

the sacrament of ordination as a permanent deacon.

Our vineyard has grown with daughters-in-laws OR as we lovingly refer to them, as daughters-in-love and our two granddaughters. We look forward to watching them grow.xxx

In the parable for today, the landowner thought the tenants would respect his son, but in evil greed, they killed him instead. God gave us Jesus as our inheritance. How many times have we had an attitude with Jesus 

and turned our back to Him?  When have we beat Him with unkindness? or thrown stones of arrogance? 

When have we seized what is not ours or even killed one with gossip?

It’s important to understand that the rejection Jesus experienced left deep pain and suffering.  Certainly the actual Crucifixion was extraordinarily painful.  But the wound He experienced in His Heart from the rejection of so many was His greatest pain and caused Him the greatest suffering.

When we experience rejection, it is hard to sort out the pain we feel.  It’s very hard to let the hurt and anger we feel turn into a “holy sorrow” which has the effect of motivating us toward a deeper love of those whom we mourn over.  This is difficult to do but is what our Lord did.  The result of Jesus doing this was the salvation of the world.  Imagine if Jesus would have simply given up.  What if, at the time of His arrest, Jesus would have called on the myriads of angels to come to His rescue?  What if He would have done this thinking, “These people are not worth it!”  The result would have been that we would have never received the eternal gift of salvation by His death and Resurrection.  Suffering would not have been transformed into love.

Action: Take some time today to look over your list of people who are not your favorite! Think of why they aren’t easy to love and then try this: Imitate Jesus’ love. Be Christ like, and try not only to forgive that person, but to also offer the holy love of mercy.  Be merciful to that person!  When we can do that, we will become a cornerstone of love and grace for those who need it the most. It just might be ourselves who are in the greatest need!

Audio Reflection:

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