Today we hear Saint Matthew’s account of the parable of the wicked tenants that Jesus Christ told to His disciples. A landowner had planted a vineyard and leased it to tenants when he went abroad. When the time came to collect the harvest, he sent his servants to the tenants who treated them badly. Eventually he sent his son, thinking that the tenants would respect him. However, they seized him and killed him, planning to take his inheritance.
Jesus is clearly using this parable to point to Himself. Since the beginning of creation, God had been caring for His world and had entrusted it to human tenants. When the people of Israel had strayed from His ways, He had sent them prophets to call them back to Himself. Finally, He sent them His own Son, but Christ points here to how He too would be rejected by the Jews. However, having been rejected, He would also become the “cornerstone” of the new people that God would form in the Church.
This parable refers to the events of our salvation history, but it also refers to each of us personally. In his commentary on this Gospel passage, Saint John Chrysostom point out how much care the landowner took with his vineyard, even doing things that were really the tenants’ responsibility. God has shown great care for each of us, but too often we are unaware of this, or take it for granted. Like the tenants, we run the risk of ignoring God’s messengers and even rejecting His Son who comes to us. We have a great responsibility to rightly use all the blessings we have received, and to co-operate with God in caring for His vineyard in our different ways.