In the Gospel appointed for the Wednesday in Holy Week we hear the recounting by Jesus of the parable of the Vineyard from the Gospel of Saint Mark at Chapter 12, verses 1-11. We have all heard the parable either as it was read during Mass or in Church School:
The owner of a vineyard let it out to tenants and went to another country. When it came time to collect the rent from the tenants the man sent a servant to collect. The rent was payable must have been payable in kind as the Gospel says he was sent to “get from them some of he fruit of the vineyard”. And this first servant was beaten by the tenants and they sent him away.
The owner then sent another servant who was killed and another and another some of whom were killed an some beaten. The the owner had an idea. he thought is I send my son the tenants will respect him and pay him the rent. But alas no the tenants thought if they killed the son somehow they would reap the inheritance. And, so they do.
Jesus then asks : “What will the owner do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others.” He then concludes by saying “Have you not read this scripture: “The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes? “
Now, I am not a theologian or a trained priest or minister so I have to relate my thoughts on how this struck me as I read it at Morning Prayer this morning solely from an individual layman perspective. Jesus seems to be saying that God has sent countless messengers to the world and that and each has been rejected. He then decides, like the owner, that if he sends his son we will respect him and listen to him, But as with the tenants the world rejects and kills him (quite literally) by ignoring him and thinking it does not need God but can obtain the “kingdom” without him.
This morning as I prayed concerning a very difficult time in my life I saw this parable in a more personal light. It ” came home to me”. Throughout my life God has sent me countless messengers and I have ignored them thinking that through prayer and study I can “obtain the kingdom” on my own. I find myself, as did the tenants, seeing their lives destroyed and the vineyard passing to others. But, in the midst of this realization and despondency there is a bright beacon. Turning to Christ with our whole heart will transform a rejected life into a “cornerstone” Amen.
Reference: Please see the Daily Devotional of the Living Church for March 23, 2016 at Doubt, The Daily Devotional of the Living Church Foundation.
Art:The Stoning of Stephen (while Paul watches) / painted in 1944, during World War II / by Jose Clement Orozco / the Vatican Museum licensed through Creative Commons.