“Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press 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.
What’s the point of our Lenten observances? The Church invites us to engage in acts of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving during Lent, as well as abstaining from meat on Fridays. These disciplines, being ancient biblical practices, are meant to dispose us to God’s grace, namely to open our eyes so we can see ourselves as God sees us, help us recognize our need for God’s mercy and forgiveness, and allow us to discern the best ways we can make a loving response to God. Anything we do that helps us to receive these three graces is a useful Lenten discipline; anything that does not is a distraction and should be discarded.
Like the vineyard tenants in today’s Gospel, we are expected to bear good fruit for the Kingdom, and Jesus came into the world so that we might bear that good fruit. As the second week of Lent draws to a close, ask yourself these questions: what fruit is God calling me to bear in my life? What are some obstacles to me sharing God’s love with those around me?
Let me hear your voice in my life,
see the path you lay down before,
and follow the way you have led.