Today gospel reading from the gospel of Saint Matthew chapter 21, verse 33 to 43 tells us the story of the parable of the landowner and wicked tenants. This parable tells the story of how a good landowner planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower. After this, he leased it to tenants and went on a journey. When it was harvest time, he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce. But the tenants seized the servants, mistreated them by beating some and killing some. Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, they will respect his son. But when the tenants saw the son, they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Because of this, the landowner will put those wretched tenants to a wretched death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper times.

The landowner in this parable is God. The wicked tenants are the chief priests, the elders and the Jewish people in general, who Jesus was addressing the parable to, who God chose as His own, and who He entrusted the duty of harvesting the good fruits, preparing for the coming of Christ, and establishing His kingdom in the world. The servants sent to collect the harvest were the Old Testament prophets. The beating, stoning and killing that these servants experienced, referred to how the ancient prophets were treated by the Israelites. The son of the landowner, whom the tenants killed was Jesus Christ. Hence, this parable tells us the story of the Jews relationship with God. Remember the effort and hard-work of the landowner, who did everything possible to make his vineyard produce the best grapes, yet the tenants refused to bring the produce at the harvest time. This was why 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.” So, after all God has done for the Israelites, they still never truly accepted and followed His teachings or commandments, and mistreated those sent by Him to help them follow His ways, and even killed His only begotten Son. This led God to reach out to the Gentiles who accepted and followed His teachings and commandments, and produced or bore good fruit that has lasted till date.

This action of the Jews seems to be our action today as we have refused to give God the produce at the proper times, for we have abandoned His teachings and commandments as taught us by the Catholic Church and have rejected His servants sent to lead us closer to Him. Ask yourself today, what good fruit have I bore for God in the world today? What fruit have I produced in life or what fruit am I producing today for the greater glory of God? How loyal and faithful have I been to God, as one entrusted with the duty of proclaiming and living out His gospel in the world? How have I treated His messengers who are trying to help me come closer to Him? How have I treated His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ when I receive Him in the Holy Eucharist at Mass? Have I truly fulfilled God’s reason for putting me in His vineyard as a parent, a guardian, a lay faithful or a member of the clergy? Am I working honestly and devotedly in the Lord’s vineyard today? Am I producing the fruit that God wants me to produce for Him in the world?

This parable while taking about the wickedness and ingratitude of the Jews to God, also emphasizes God’s patience, mercy, forgiveness and love for us, as the landowner still sent more servants and even his son to the tenants hoping for a better outcome.

So my dear friends in Christ, it is a well known fact that our God is kind, merciful, patient, caring, understanding and loving, but as His children, we have to do our own part by taking care of and making sure that the vine and vineyard entrusted to us is producing good fruit, so as to give God a great and good harvest at the proper time.