Tending God’s Vineyard

Mark 12: 1-12
2 Pt 1: 2-7 / Ps 91: 1-2, 14-16

But the tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’
(Mark 12: 7)

Lord, grant our congressmen wisdom
To discern what is wrong and right,
They are opposing God’s kingdom
Who’re legislating against life.

Jesus began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a wine press and built a watchtower. Then he leased the vineyard to some tenants and went away on a journey. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed. He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But the tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others. Haven’t you read this scripture: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” Then they looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd; so they left him and went away. (Mark 12: 1-12)

Reflection

The chief priests and the scribes were offended by this parable of the vineyard tenants that Jesus related because they were familiar with the passage from Isaiah which says, “The vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel” (Isaiah 5:7), and they were the ‘tenants’ whom Jesus was referring to. The Jews were aware that the religious leaders of the old Covenant rejected the prophets who came to Israel with the word of God. They mistreated and killed them. Elijah was exiled into the desert by King Ahab and Queen Jezebel; Jeremiah was imprisoned, disgraced, exiled to Egypt, and there murdered by his own countrymen; the prophet Zechariah was stoned to death; and the last prophet, John the Baptist was imprisoned and beheaded. The stewardship of the Pharisees and scribes in God’s vineyard during the time of Jesus had only produced sour grapes (Isaiah 5:4) because of their hypocrisy and corruption, and their servile attitude towards imperial Rome. Like the tenants in our Lord’s parable, they rejected Jesus and His teachings, and plotted to kill Him so that they could maintain the status quo and remain in control of the Jewish people.

The parable of the vineyard tenants may as well be referring to the stewards of our nation. God provided this country with an abundance of natural resources, and a people of faith. But what had previous tenant leaseholders done to one of God’s most beautiful vineyards? Past administrations had degraded it with their culture of graft and corruption. Almost all of our political leaders only wanted to hold on to power, even if in the process they reduced the population to grinding poverty. In fact, even today, they are still planning to reduce the population itself by passing “reproductive health” bills, which have nothing to do with reproduction or health, but with allowing the liberal use of contraceptives and abortifacents in our country according to the policies set by the most powerful country and international organization. Our government and legislators, who are supposed to be the stewards and guardians of our constitution and Catholic tradition are being asked to violate their sacred mandate by enacting the passage of anti-life and anti-family bills. Thank God He still sends His modern day prophets from Human Life International, who continue to proclaim the Word of God and do battle against this “culture of death” now threatening God’s vineyard in Asia. Let us pray for their protection and for the success of their crusade for life and family. And let us join their fight by campaigning to preserve our traditional family unit, the right of parents in the sexual education of their children, and the right of the unborn child.

Father God, Author and Giver of Life, we ask You to bless and protect Your messengers, who sacrifice so much to work against the scourges of life and family. We also pray for our political leaders, that Your Holy Spirit may enlighten them not to barter their Christian ideals for a few pieces of silver, and consequently, lose their eternal inheritance. Amen.

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