Then he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a pit for the winepress, and built a watchtower; then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants to collect from them his share of the produce of the vineyard. But they seized him, and beat him, and sent him away empty-handed.
And again he sent another slave to them; this one they beat over the head and insulted. Then he sent another, and that one they killed. And so it was with many others; some they beat, and others they killed. He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.
What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others.Have you not read this scripture: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes’?”
When they realized that he had told this parable against them, they wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowd. So they left him and went away.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Today’s Gospel reading might call to mind the expression “don’t shoot the messenger,” which is exactly what happens when the vineyard owner sends out emissaries in his name—including his own son—to collect what is due to him. For two thousand years, all over the world, messengers of Christ have been sent out “to all the nations” to proclaim the holy name of Jesus Christ and yet have been the victims of intense persecution, particularly in the Middle East. The word “gospel” means “good news,” and yet it is news that can seem threatening to those who have closed their hearts to the mercy and love of Christ.
In your life today, how are you a messenger and herald of the Gospel? What piece of Gospel news did you initially reject in your life that has now become “the cornerstone” of your faith?
—Julianne Stanz is a speaker, writer and mother of two, originally from Ireland. She currently serves as Director of the New Evangelization for the Diocese of Green Bay, WI.
Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds hide me.
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee.
From the wicked enemy defend me.
In the hour of my death call me.
And bid me come unto Thee,
That with all Thy saints,
I may praise Thee
Forever and ever.
—Anima Christi, St. Ignatius of Loyola