Then he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a pit for the wine press, 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.
Dare to put yourself in Jesus’ shoes today. I imagine Jesus knows full well that he is speaking to a tough crowd; the priests, scribes, and elders. He has tried to get through to them in many ways and at many times before, without success. So, he decides to go straight to the heart of the matter and tells a story which illustrates how badly they are acting. But this approach does not work any better than all the other attempts to get through to them. They just want to make it all about the 613 Commandments of the Torah rather than the Love of God.
Is it time for Jesus to take his own advice which he gave the apostles when he commissioned them to preach to the lost sheep of Israel, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet?” What a terrible thing, to totally give up on relating to anyone in your life. But, do we sometimes have no other choice? I do not know for sure and the thought of it makes me sad.
—David McNulty works in the Operations office for the Midwest Jesuits.
Jesus, I feel within me
a great desire to please you
but, at the same time,
I feel totally incapable of doing this
without your special light and help,
which I can expect only from you.
Accomplish your will within me—
Even in spite of me.
—St. Claude La Colombière, SJ