REFLECTION | The Parable of the Tenants: ‘Bear good fruits’

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Reflection file photo by Bernard Testa/InterAksyon.

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: “Hear another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey. When vintage time drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce. But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat, another they killed, and a third they stoned. Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones, but they treated them in the same way. Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.‘ 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.’ They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?”

They answered him, “He will put those wretched men to a wretched death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper times.”

Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes’? Therefore, I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.”
—Matthew 21:33-43

The kingdom of God is for those who produce good fruits. Our gospel reading is about a parable told to the chief priests and the elders of the people during the time of Jesus but remains relevant today.

The tenants were given the opportunity to live decently and humanely because of the goodness of the land owner but what did they do in exchange? It is the story of the tenants who were trusted by the land owner but were ruthless and heartless. This is an example of how the bad, cruel, and stubborn people displeased God. The tenants during the time of Jesus are still around in our society today; we still see them and sometimes we work with them consciously or unconsciously.

Recognizing the goodness of God is very difficult for those tenants whom the master had put his trust in. But in return, the tenants were not trustworthy at all and ungrateful as they were even the ones who plotted steps against the landowner. The tenants threw the messengers of the landowner to the vineyard, stoned, and killed him, even the son of the landowner was not spared. The tenants killed him too and thought of getting its inheritance. No hearts for the landowner, no gratitude for his goodness. They had practically rejected the goodness of the landowner and had kept evil thoughts and still thinking and doing evil deeds.

“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” the tenants had totally rejected God. The land owner’s goodness and mercy is endless but in vain as they ignored God’s mercy and kindness. Many people today do not really see God working in their lives nor care for God, worse, they refuse to open their hearts to God. People seemed to be indifferent and insensitive to God’s invitation being offered to us every now and then. The Lord is inviting us to work in his vineyard and follow His tenets.

To believe in God is to follow His will. They were ruthless and ungrateful to God, they lived with ill-motives and ill-intentions. When people use God and manipulate God, that is the end of the relationship between God and man. Man has to accept that he or she is not God. That the person cannot be on his/her own a perfect basis of his/her faith but only in God.

The Lord will take away from the irresponsible and heartless tenants the land that was entrusted to them and instead be given to those who would really till the land and plant that would produce good fruits.

The Lord calls and invites us to bear good fruits for others to be shared. Have you not asked yourself when was the time that you were sharing your good fruits with others? In your family, have you really lived- out your Christian life and did share the good works with others? Have you inspired others in your neighborhood, in your community, in your workplaces thru your examples and deeds?

Let us pray, reflect and ask ourselves:

Have I accepted the Lord totally in my life?

Have I seen and experienced the goodness of God in my life?

Am I responsive to the invitation of God to work in His vineyard?

Am I bearing good fruits as a Christian? Have I loved others without conditions?

Prayer
Almighty and Ever-living God, may we recognize you in the events and people we meet day by day. The messages that you had always sent to us through the wonderful experiences and situations in our lives, help us to see them in grace. We ignore and sometimes do not give you due attention and importance, forgive us and help us to be more sensitive and open to your will. This we ask through Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Intention
Let us remember those people who asked for our prayers and good intentions; especially those who are suffering and in pain, the weary and the lost. That they may see and recognize the mercy and compassion of God in the people they meet and in the events that they are into. We also remember those people live in hatred and anger that may the heart of God be their hearts so true forgiveness and reconciliation will be at hand.