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The parable of the tenants

Gospel Reading: 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.

With this quotation from Ps 118:22, Jesus concludes the parable of the tenants, which he tells the chief priests and the elders of the people. The reference is clearly to Jesus, the Son of God, who is rejected by the chief priests and the Pharisees but becomes the source of salvation for all who accept and believe in him.

Rejection does not hinder Jesus from accomplishing his mission from the Father. The Church, the community of believers, is commissioned by Jesus to continue his mission (cf Mt 28:18-20).

In some places, the Church is experiencing rejection and even persecution. Yet, the Church goes on with the mission because as Jesus has promised, “The gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18).

The blood of martyrs waters the faith and helps it grow.

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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.