Models of Stewardship

Matthew 21:33-43,45-46
Gn 37:3-4,12-13,17-28 / Ps 105

‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the main cornerstone. This was the LORD’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’
(Matthew 21: 42)

Our life’s a vineyard on a lease,
We must share part of its produce;
We can’t just squander as we please,
Or else this stewardship we’ll lose.

“Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower. Then he leased it to some tenants, and went on a journey. When vintage time came, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. 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.’ So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They replied, “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and he will lease the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.” Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.” (Matthew 21:33-43,45-46)


Jesus was clearly referring to the religious leaders of the Jews as the wicked tenants to whom God (the Landowner) first entrusted His vineyard (the kingdom). God had ‘planted’ His covenant with the Jews, brought them to the Promised Land, and had their own temple built to set them apart from other people. But when God sent his prophets to them, they persecuted them. Now, when God sent His only Son bringing the Good News of salvation, the Jews would reject Him too, and would drive Him out of their vineyard (to Calvary), where they would persecute and kill Him. Jesus even reminded them of an Old Testament prophecy: “The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” (Ps.118:22) And true enough, Christ, Whom the builders of Judaism rejected has become the cornerstone of Christianity.

Our Lord’s parable of the wicked tenants was a prophecy of the impending transfer of God’s inheritance to the Gentiles. The Jews had rejected the Good News of the Son, so the Father gave His legacy to non-Jews. Recall the story of Joseph, the closest precursor of Jesus in Biblical history (first reading). As the favorite of his father, he was also by his own brothers, and sold to traders for twenty pieces of silver. He was brought to Egypt as a slave. But his rejection and exile to Egypt would later on prove to be a blessing for the nation of Israel, as he would save his people as well as many other nations from starvation because of his astute stewardship of Egypt’s resources. The rejected son had thus become his nation’s cornerstone.

The life of Joseph, the favored son of Israel, is our model of true stewardship. All of us will be called to account, whether we have given back to the Landlord His rightful share. As tenants, we may be tempted to believe that we own what has been entrusted to us and that we can do with our talents and resources as we so please. That would be missing the whole point of our Lord’s beautiful parable.

Let me not forget, Lord, that I am but a tenant of this borrowed life; grant me the wisdom to employ what you have leased to me according to Your will. Amen.

Comments are closed.