WelCom October 2023
Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time – Matthew 21:33-43
Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: 33 ‘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 he went on a journey. 34 When vintage time drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his produce. 35 But the tenants seized the servants. They beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Next he sent some more servants, this time a larger number than the first ones, but they treated them in the same way. 37 Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, “They will respect my son.” 38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, “This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and take over his inheritance.” 39 So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40 Now, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?’ 41 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.” 42Jesus 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 we marvel at it? 43 Therefore, I say to you then, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.’
Gospel reflection: Results from the vineyard
While Jesus is talking to the chief priest and elders of the people, he tells them another parable. A landowner had a vineyard and farmed it perfectly. He planted it, fenced it and then dug the wine press, before renting it out and travelling abroad. After a considerable time, when harvest time drew near, his farm tenants rejected the harvesters he sent to harvest the grapes. They beat one, killed another and stoned a third. So the landowner sent another group of harvesters who were rejected the same way. The landowner decided he would send his only son, thinking they would not reject him. But they killed him as well. The landowner’s farm tenants thought that now the harvest would be theirs.
Jesus asks the chief priest and elders, ‘What is going to happen to those people who killed his son?’ The chief priests know they have killed the prophets in the past and are planning to kill Jesus whenever they can. Jesus’ parable reveals that he knows what they are up to and this makes them even more motivated to kill Jesus.
What can we learn from all this?
Very few people today are guilty of directly throwing out Jesus’ word, but many of us have a lukewarm approach to what Jesus teaches us. However, the opportunity always exists for us to do exactly what Jesus wants us to do. We are very fortunate. Compared with other countries, our New Zealand is like the land of ‘milk and honey’. We are indeed blessed.
Do we acknowledge this?! Are we thankful? To whom? And should this thankfulness generate a response? What should we do?
Tom Gibson is a retired Taranaki dairy farmer and parishioner at Immaculate Conception, Stratford.