The Holy 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 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.
Reflection: “When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they knew that he was speaking about them.” Anytime we read and reflect on the words of Our Lord, we know he is speaking directly to us. What about this parable, how does it speak to us? We are the tenants in this parable. Each one of us has been given a vineyard by God, our families, our communities, our work, our church. God gives us everything we need to make our vineyard flourish. What are some things that keep us from making our vineyards flourish? Our pride, our selfishness and our sinfulness make us less receptive of God. We want to live our own lives as we like, and make our personal decisions in our own interest. We find it hard to adjust our living fully to Christ. Our Lord lets us manage the vineyard as we choose, but we do not own the vineyard. We will have to give up what it produces at the time of reckoning.
Action of the day: Almsgiving is part of our Lenten journey. We are called by God to produce good fruits in his vineyard. What fruits will we produce during our life? How are we using the good gifts we have been given? May we pray to God, our Father, to help us make good use of the gifts we have been blessed with to help those less fortunate than us.