This weekend’s Gospel, the Parable of the Tenants, helps us understand how we, the tenants of the Vine- yard, should behave and how we should follow Jesus and heal the world.
Jesus once again speaks to the priests and elders with a parable about the Vineyard; a theme from the two Sunday’s prior gospels. In this parable, the landowner leases his Vineyard to tenants and sends his servants to collect the portion of the harvest that the tenants owe to him.
The servants are often sent to collect a payment, and each time they are beaten and killed by the tenants. Fi- nally, the landowner sends his son to collect his rent. The tenants, believing that they will inherit the Vine- yard if the landowner dies without an heir, plot together and kill the landowner’s son.
After telling the parable, Jesus questions the chief priests and elders about what the landowner will do to the wicked tenants. They all agree that the landowner will kill the wicked tenants and give the land to new ten- ants who will pay the rent.
In telling this parable, Jesus is drawing upon Isaiah 5:1-7, which is today’s first reading and one that the priests and elders would have known well. Jesus doesn’t have to explain the symbolism of the parable; the Pharisees would have understood that the Vineyard represented Israel, the landowner represented God, the servants represented the prophets, and the bad tenants represented the religious leaders.
Yet Jesus nonetheless explains the parable’s meaning: The Kingdom of God will be taken from the unbe- lieving and given to the faithful. The chief priests and elders have condemned themselves with their answer to Jesus’ question.
Matthew names the religious leaders as Pharisees and chief priests. Clearly, this Gospel shows the tension that was mounting between Jesus and the Jewish religious leaders who thought that his message was dangerous.
Matthew’s Gospel was written about 70 years after Jesus’ death and reflected the conflicts and tensions found in the Christian community at that time. Conflicts and tensions that are, sadly, still with us today in our modern-day Vineyard.
This Gospel reminds us of the importance of listening to God’s word. In many ways, God speaks to us through Scripture, through our Church tradition, in our Church’s teaching, and through modern-day proph- ets. Are we attentive and receptive to God’s word to us through these messengers? Are we tending to His Vineyard with an eye toward everlasting life?
(Excerpt from Loyola Press Oct 2017)
Continuing with the theme of being good tenants in our very own Vineyard, please know that, thanks to your generosity, we have accomplished (or are in the process of accomplishing) the following projects:
1. Dehumidifiers installed in the Church basement to alleviate moisture and mold potential.
2. Parking lot lines of demarcation for parking spaces, handicapped spaces, and delivery/fire lane spaces will begin the week of October 12th.
3. Moving the parish office and personnel out of the Rectory and into the existing confessional space.
4. Starting an online parish giving system; details to be announced.
5. An Automated external defibrillator has been ordered.
Enjoy this beautiful Fall weather and keep your Vineyard in a manner that will be ready to welcome Jesus.
God Bless You,