February 26, 2016
Mt 21: 33-43. 45-46
“Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a winepress in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country.When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way.
Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.”
So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.”
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes’? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Both readings today are fraught with violence provoked by the very human tendency toward jealousy. And while the readings depict an external conflict, the same battle often happens internally. We look at other people’s gifts and strengths and reactively beat ourselves up for our own faults and weaknesses. Yet Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel free us to look at our brokenness in a different way:
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes.
Instead of feeling shame for past mistakes or seeing your brokenness as a form of weakness, Jesus invites us to see exactly those things as a possible cornerstone of our identity. These very things can be the foundation of compassion and empathy toward others. Ask God to transform the rejected places in your heart into a life-giving source for others.
—Sarah Otto received her M.Div. degree from Boston College. She currently serves as director of the Newman Catholic Center in Chico, CA.
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Please share the Good Word with your friends!