Parable of the Wicked Tenants

Mark 12: 1-12
Tb 1:3,2:1a-8 / Ps 112

What then will the owner of the vineyard do?
(Mark 12:9)

May the Lord grant us the wisdom
To discern what is right from wrong,
Thus be worthy of His kingdom
Where His stewards truly belong.

Jesus began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he leased the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 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 passage of Scripture: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” Then the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders 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

Our Lord knew that the Jewish religious leaders were familiar with the writings of Isaiah, which said, “The vineyard of the LORD Almighty is the nation of Israel, and the people of Judah are the vines He delighted in. He looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.” (Isa 5:7) His parable was therefore forewarning them of their sins, and yet, at the same time it was adding fuel to the fire of hatred in their hearts, a hatred that would drive them to seek His death on the cross.

Jesus also gave this parable as a prophecy to the people of Israel that their legacy as the “Chosen People of God” would be transferred to the Gentiles (the future Christian world), because of the Jews’ refusal to believe that Jesus was really the Son of God. Our Lord even quoted scriptures, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone” (Psa 118:22), which referred to Himself as the foundation stone upon Whom God would build His Church. His foremost apostles (St. Peter and St. Paul) would later quote His words in His defense (Acts 4:11, 1Pet 2:7 and Eph. 2:20).

This parable of the wicked tenants is also meant to teach us the importance of being diligent stewards of our Lord in His kingdom here on earth. Part of our commitment in our community to “change the face of business”, aside from our own personal conversion, is to take responsible care of all entrusted to us. We have come to see our community as a vineyard that the Lord has put under our care. We have been enjoying the various fruit of the Holy Spirit that God has blessed our brotherhood with, such as loving relationships, prayer power, peace of mind, and discernment. As leaders of this organization, it is only fair and prudent that we take good care of God’s flock by being models of true Christian living, giving good counsel, and always willing to extend a helping hand whenever and wherever our services are needed. We can do no less to show our gratitude to the Lord Who gave us this great blessing.

Grant us Your grace, O Lord, to become good stewards in our community: to be diligent in our assigned tasks, and never count the costs of serving You, but to be grateful instead that these are already our reward. Amen.

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