Sunday Readings: Isaiah 5.1-7; Philippians 4.6-9; Matthew 21.33-43
“The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will yield a rich harvest.” – Matthew 21.43
Economically in Jesus’ time, 95% of the people were poor peasants who worked hard to survive. Roman soldiers from the occupying army often received land as payment for their military service and kept peasants as tenants to cultivate and tend their vineyards. Poor overtaxed peasants might have reason to resent and resist giving a Roman owner a share in the harvest. But the parable has no hint of this political motive.
The tenants simply want the whole harvest and the vineyard for themselves. Toward this end they kill the tenants and the owner’s son. The parable has an allegory that closely parallels Jesus’ life. In the allegory or double meaning God is the owner of the vineyard and Jesus the son.
In this parable Jesus is trying to reform his own religion. Jesus wants temple leaders to take responsibility for the poor, blind, and lame people who flocked into the temple after he cleansed it. Similarly Pope Francis connects repairing Earth with sustaining people who live in poverty.
With whom in the parable do you sympathize?
If you enjoy this Gospel Reflection, please visit the Sunday By Sunday page to order a subscription or request a free sample. Start a small bible study. Be a leader.