March 21, 2014

The Gospel Today 

Friday of the Second Week of Lent

Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people:
“Hear another parable.
There was a landowner who planted a vineyard,
put a hedge around it,
dug a wine press in it, and built a tower.
Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey.
When vintage time drew near,
he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce.
But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat,
another they killed, and a third they stoned.
Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones,
but they treated them in the same way.
Finally, he sent his son to them,
thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another,
‘This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’
They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?”
They answered him,
“He will put those wretched men to a wretched death
and lease his vineyard to other tenants
who will give him the produce at the proper times.”
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.”
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables,
they knew that he was speaking about them.
And although they were attempting to arrest him,
they feared the crowds, for they regarded him as a prophet.

Reflection (Sem. Jonathan Cigaral):

     The Gospel for today speaks of a landowner who planted a vineyard which was later on leased to the tenants.  When the time of fruit drew near, the landowner sent his servants to the tenants whom they killed by beating and stoning.  Thinking that the tenants might respect the landowner’s son, the landowner then sent his son to the vineyard to collect the produce.  However, the tenants also killed the son hoping that if they kill him, they can acquire his inheritance.

     The Gospel is an allegory which uses characters and events to describe a subject by suggestive resemblances.  God is the landowner who planted a vineyard which is the House of Israel; the produce stands for the good works demanded by God; the servants are the prophets who were sent and were later on killed by the people; and the son, of course is Jesus Christ who was also killed and “thrown out”, signifying His death outside Jerusalem.

     The moral story of the Gospel is that the full-end time blessing which is being represented by the Kingdom of God will be deprived from those people who do not produce good works as required by God.  The invitation for me as a child of God is to always ensure that I plant a seed of goodness and of love in every action that I do.  No matter how humble a deed may be, it becomes substantial in the eyes of God if it produces goodness for his people.  Applying this in my seminary formation, the expression of goodness can be done in so many ways: sharing of time and resources, a word of gentleness and compassion, smiling and laughing with my brothers in times of happiness and having a shoulder to lean on in times of sadness.  My formation is an opportunity for me to make good works as a way of life so that in my future ministry, sharing of goodness may be magnified a hundred times.

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