I remember always being a little annoyed and scared by this parable. We are used to Jesus talking about the landowner as God, his Father. But as the story goes on and the wickedness of the tenant farmers becomes clearer, I want to shout out to the landowner – no! Don’t send your son. They are not going to respect him either. Sure enough, they grab him, drag him outside and murder him.
When Jesus asks the religious leaders what the owner will do, I have to wonder about our own church and other leaders like me – have we returned the owner’s share of the harvest or tried to keep the estate for ourselves? It’s such a huge question!
This powerful and sorrowful story was told by Jesus just after he had arrived in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. He knows that he is going to be rejected by the religious leaders and he will be taken outside the city of Jerusalem and be put to death. He came to Israel – his own people – and called them to repentance and to be the light that God wanted it to be. But his own people rejected him then – just as so many of us continue to reject him now. Even so, God will remain faithful and Jesus as the stone rejected by the builders, will be vindicated as the cornerstone – the stone that will only fit in the highest place in the building – the place with the highest honour.
+ Jesus, you are the cornerstone. When everyone around us rejects you, help us to return our gaze back to you and to honour you as the centre of our lives. Amen.
** Please pray for me as I undertake an Ignatian thirty-day retreat during this month near Boston, MA **