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A Reflection On The Gospel Of Matthew 21:33-43 By Fr. Isidore Clarke, OP

A Reflection On The Gospel Of Matthew 21:33-43 By Fr. Isidore Clarke, OP

Greetings from Fr. Isidore Clarke.Over the past few weeks we have had a series of parables about the Kingdom of Heaven.God has called us to work for His Kingdom and rewards us beyond what any of us deserves; some respond better than others to God's call, but most of us very imperfectly.In today's Scripture Readings the theme of working for the Kingdom is brought to a climax.

Obviously Jesus is here talking about the Reign on Earth of His Heavenly Father. Jesus Himself was already at work establishing the Kingdom in His own homeland. This bold enterprise progresses in our day and age and will continue until the end of time. The Preface of the Solemnity of Christ the King beautifully describes the down-to-earth values of this Heavenly Kingdom: "An eternal universal kingdom, a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace."

The Bible frequently uses variations of the IMAGE OF THE VINE AND THE VINEYARD to express the relationship between God and His people.He has shown His loving care for His vineyard –His people –by transplanting them from Egypt to the fertile Promised Land.He has cultivated and protected His vineyard -His people. He couldn't have done more for them.

The Gospel of today provides us with a variation on the theme of the vineyard that is violent, tense, threatening! It goes like this: God has entrusted the care of His vineyard –His people –to tenants. It's wonderful that the Lord is prepared to risk placing His work in the hands of sinners such as ourselves! When God sends stewards to collect the grape harvest, the tenants, wanting to take the vineyard for themselves, beat up some of the stewards and killed others. That's how they had treated the prophets, whom God had sent.

Showing unbelievable patience, God, sent His Son as His representative, thinking the tenants would welcome Him.INSTEAD THEY KILLED HIM!This parable is a powerful indictment of the Jewish religious leaders to whom God had entrusted His people.In this parable Jesus makes a very forceful prediction of His ownPassion.

However, not even the murder of God's Son could thwart His plan for His vineyard –His people.Instead, God drew on other resources! His vineyard would be handed over to other tenants –pagan converts! By contrast they would welcome the Son and produce a bumper harvest.

Through the parable of today's Gospel the Church confronts you and me with the questions, "How do we carry out the responsibilities God has given to each of us?Do we bear the fruits of loving and serving God and each other -the fruits God expects of us?Or are we just a bunch of useless sour grapes?!"


Isidore,OP

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