The parable of the vineyard is a significant one. Once again Jesus is challenging the scribes and Pharisees for their poor stewardship, their lack of response to God, and their unfaithfulness to the covenant.
The parable of the vineyard is very symbolic, and again, it would outrage the scribes and Pharisees. The landowner is God, and the vineyard is the world that he entrusted to his Chosen People. The “tenants” were those people, in particular their leaders, the scribes and Pharisees. They are depicted in the parable as greedy, ungrateful and unfaithful. They were not producing the fruit that God intended! The servants sent by the landowner to collect the harvest were the prophets, that God sent over and over again. They were rejected, stoned and many were killed. The people did not want them or their message. Finally, the landowner sent his son, who is, of course, Jesus the Lord. He, too, was rejected and killed by the ungrateful tenants. Indeed, He was “the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone”.
Our First Reading and gospel show an exasperated God dealing with an unfaithful people. They had failed in their stewardship, especially of His covenant with them. So, now God was extending a new covenant, sealed by the blood of Jesus. His suffering, death and resurrection marked the new covenant of those united to Jesus by Baptism. It seems in both readings that the patience of God was at its limit, and that the only just alternative was punishment.
We can easily sit back and shake our head and think, “How blind these scribes and Pharisees to the ways of God.”, “What were they thinking?”, “Didn’t they know any better?” However, the word of God is not ‘out there’, speaking only to one time and place, but for us as well – the people of the New Covenant. Jesus invites us to examine ourselves and question how faithful we have been as “tenants”, as stewards of his many gifts and graces. God entrusts to us – as He did to those tenants in the gospel parable – that relationship that is life giving, that is nurtured by the Spirit, and that builds His kingdom here and now.
Today we are the “builders” – the builders of our lives, our families, our Church, and our society. If we wish to work for “the resurrection of society” we must be “builders”, and not destroyers. The “tenants” in the gospel parable were destroyers, and obstacles to the life of God We must be people of hope, the charism of the Congregation of the Resurrection, and not of hopelessness. We show that Jesus is “the cornerstone” each and every time we respond to God’s grace and build with Him. We proclaim Him as our Risen Lord when we insert hope into every conversation, every encounter, every activity, and every decision. We show our whole-hearted acceptance of Jesus and His teaching when we work with Jesus, as “the cornerstone”, for “the resurrection of society” according to the virtues and values of the kingdom of heaven; love and forgiveness, justice and peace, patience and compassion. At home, at school, and at work, we are “builders” with Christ.
Bogdan Jański became a good steward! In following Christ, he recognized the unconditional love of God, and how he had been so blessed by God. He put his time and talents, and his (limited) treasure at the service of Christ, the Church, and his growing Congregation. He called each ‘disciple’ to discover, appreciate, and use well their time, talents and treasure, giving praise and glory to God, and being a steward in the spirit of Jesus Christ.