Archive for category Sin

Matthew 6:17-29 The Death of John the Baptist

Herod the tetrarch is also known as Herod Antipas. The same Herod as appears later in the account of the Passion (cf. Lk 23:7ff). A son of Herod the Great. Antipas governed Galilee and Perea in the name of the Roman emperor; according to Flavius Josephus, the Jewish historian (“Jewish Antiquities”, XVIII, 5, 4). He was originally married to the daughter of Aretas, king of Arabia. However, while on an excursion to Rome, he stayed with his half-brother Philip and Herodias, his wife. Impetuously, he fell in love with his brother’s wife. Rather than suppress his inappropriate infatuation, he approached Herodias and convinced her to leave Philip. She agreed as long as he divorced his Arabian wife, which he did (See Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XVIII, Chap. V, v. 1-2).

John’s accusation was that Herod Antipas was a wife-stealer. And worse than that, he had stolen the wife of his own brother! His act was immoral and unlawful, for ‘if a man shall take his brother’s wife, it is an unclean thing’ (Lev. 20:21).

Herod, who divorced the daughter of Aretas without sufficient cause consummated an illegal and immoral marriage with Herodias, ignored the direct counsel of John the Baptist; held lascivious parties; made an oath to give Salome whatever she wanted, up to half of your kingdom, because he liked the way she danced…Well that one puts him in a bind. Though he was  left with an option of breaking an ill-advised oath or executing a prophet of God and he could have broken the oath Herod, pursuant to this grant (Mt 14:10); He sent and beheaded John in the prison.

Towards the end of the first century Flavius Josephus wrote of these same events. He gives additional information–specifying that it was in the fortress of Makeronte that John was imprisoned (this fortress was on the eastern bank of the Dead Sea, and was the scene of the banquet in question) and that Herodias’ daughter was called Salome.

There are three great lessons to learn from the life of Herod:

First, no man can rid himself of a sin by ridding himself off the man who confronts him with it. There is such a thing as conscience, where he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths” (cf. Gaudium et Spet, 16), and even if a man’s accuser is eliminated his guilty conscience is still not silenced.

Herod’s mind has been tortured by guilt from murdering a prophet of God. Herod’s actions were obviously haunting him. He knew it was wrong to kill John. He had been plagued with his own conscience and knew that he would be punished for his actions, ‘For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly’ (Mark 6:20).

“’Herod Antipas, to whom, on the death of Herod the Great, had fallen the tetrarchy of Galilee, was about as weak and miserable a prince as ever disgraced the throne of an afflicted country. Cruel, crafty, voluptuous, like his father, he was also, unlike him, weak in war and vacillating in peace. In him, as in so many characters which stand conspicuous on the stage of history, infidelity and superstition went hand in hand. But the morbid terrors of a guilty conscience did not save him from the criminal extravagances of a violent will.’” (Farrar, p. 295.)” (The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 2: 331.)

Vatican II reminds us: “For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God…His conscience is man’s most secret core and sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths” (Gaudium et Spet, 16).

“Moral conscience (cf. Rom 2:14-16), present at the heart of the person, enjoins him at the appropriate moment to do good and to avoid evil. It also judges a particular choices, approving those that are good and denouncing those that are evil (cf. Rom 1:32) …When a man listens to his conscience, the prudent man can hear God speaking” (cf. CCC 1777).

 “Return to your conscience, question it…Turn inward, brethren and in everything you do, see God as your witness “ (St. Augustine, In ep Jo. 8, 9: PL 35 2041.

Faced with a moral choice, conscience can make either a right judgment in accordance with reason and the divine law or, on the contrary, an erroneous judgment that departs from them.

In order that conscience can make right judgment, “some rules apply in every case: (1) One may never do evil so that good may result from it; (2) the Golden Rule: “Whatever you wish that men would do, do so to them” (Mt 7:12; cf. Lk 6:31; Tob 4:15); (3) charity always proceeds by way of respect for one’s neighbor and his conscience: “Thus sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience…you sin against Christ” (1 Cor 8:12).Therefore “it is right not to…do anything that makes your brother stumble” (Rom 14:21) (CCC 1789).

You are guilty of sin when you do anything against your right and informed conscience. Your conscience will always be in state of guilt and fear and will keep on pestering you for the evil deeds done. What a troubled and a restless mind. Strive for a clear conscience. “There’s no pillow so soft as a clear conscience,” says the French proverb.

Second, pledging oneself by oath to commit an evil deed is contrary to the holiness of the divine name although a person commits perjury when he makes a promise under oath with no intention of keeping it, or when after promising on oath he does not keep it (see cf. 2152).

Bruce R. McConkie  comments: 

“Herod is stunned [at the request for John’s head]; he is plunged into sudden grief; his fawning friends are appalled…Antipas…feared to lose face with his nobles should he break his intemperate oath.

“’If a single touch of manliness had been left in him he would have repudiated the request as one which did not fall either under the letter or spirit of his oath, since the life of one cannot be made the gift to another; or he would have boldly declared that if such was her choice, his oath was more honoured by being broken than by being kept. But a despicable pride and fear of man prevailed over his better impulses. More afraid of the criticisms of his guests than of the future torment of such conscience as was left him, he immediately sent an executioner to the prison, and so at the bidding of a dissolute coward, and to please the loathly fancies of a shameless girl, the axe fell, and the head of the noblest of the prophets was shorn away.’ (Farrar)” (The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 2: 334-5.)

St Augustine further comments: “Amid the excesses and sensuality of the guests, oaths are rashly made, which then are unjustly kept” (“Sermon 10”).

The rash and foolish promise confirmed with an oath,  (see Mt 14:7)  which Herod made to this wanton girl, to give her whatsoever she would ask and this promise was a very extravagant obligation that neither a prudent man that is afraid of being snared in the words of his mouth (Prove 6:2) nor a good man that fears an oath, Eccl 9:2 would dare. Oaths or promises are ensnaring things, and, when made rashly can be an occasion of many temptations and sins. Therefore, swear not so at all, lest thou have occasion to say, It was an erro, (Eccl. 5:6).  That’s just the reason the Savior said, Swear not at all; neither by heaven…Nor by the earth (Matt 5:34

It is a sin against the second commandment of God’s Law to make an oath to do something unjust; any such oath has no binding force. In fact, if one keeps it–as Herod did–one commits an additional sin. The Catechism also teaches that one offends against this precept if one swears something untrue, or swears needlessly (cf. “St Pius V
Catechism”, III, 3, 24). Cf. note on Mt 5:33-37.

Third, sin engenders other sins and vices, destruction and death. This results in perverse inclination which cloud conscience and corrupt the concrete judgment of good and evil. Thus sin tends to reproduce itself and reinforce itself, but it cannot destroy the moral sense at its root  (see cf. CCC 1865, 1866, 1868, 1869).

Herod’s action started first with a seduction of Herodias then followed by a divorce of his own wife Areta. Next, John was imprisoned and beheaded. Bitterly resented the insult perpetrated against his daughter, King Areta of Arabia Petrea, Aretas’ father who was the ruler of Nabateans made war against Herod that heavily defeated him.

Some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod’s army came from God as punishment for what he had done to John. What happened then and that what followed after simply proved that sin brings its own punishment. It was an omen when Herod first seduced Herodias. From that act of infidelity came the murder of John, and in the end disaster, in which he lost everything except Herodias who stayed with him to the end.

Lord, anticipate our needs and prevent us from falling. Help us to choose what is good and to reject what is contrary to your will.  And help us to strive for holiness that we may please you in all things (Hebrews 12:14).”

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John 13:21-33, 36-38: JUDAS BETRAYAL ANNOUNCED; PETER DENIAL PREDICTED

Today’s Gospel narrative speaks about Judas’ betrayal and prediction of Peter’s denial. Betrayal, simply means, to hand over. “In the gospels many people “hand over” Jesus: the Sanhedrin hands him over to Pilate (Mk 15:1, 10; Mt 27:2, 18; Lk 24:20; Jn 18:30,35), Pilate hands him over to the will of the people (Lk 23:25; Jn 19:16) or to the soldiers for execution (Mk 15:15; Mt 27:26). However, the one who is par excellence the person who hands over Jesus is Judas Iscariot. He is branded in all four gospels with this characteristics, as if were his special trademark: 11 times in Mt, 6 times in Mk, 5 times in Lk, and 10 times in Jn. In all, Judas is 32 times presented as ‘the one who handed Jesus over’”  (365 Days with the Lord 2003, Liturgical Biblical Diary, On Passion Sunday, St Pauls).  

“Judas, ‘the man of Kerioth,’ one of the Twelve, waited on the high priests, probably while Jesus was engaged with the Greeks (Jn 12:20-50), and offered for sufficient remuneration to betray him into their hands. Judas was a disappointed man. He had attached himself to Jesus, believing him to be Messiah, and expecting, in accordance with the current conception of the Messianic Kingdom, a rich recompense when the Master should ascend the throne of his father David, and confer offices and honors upon his faithful followers.  

The period of his discipleship had been a process of disillusionment, and latterly, when he perceived the inevitable issue, he has determined to abandon he deemed a sinking cause, and save what he might from the wreck. It may be also that he desired to be avenged an the Master who, as he deemed, had fooled him with a false hope. He therefore went to the high priests and asked what he would give him to betray Jesus into their hands. They leaped at the proposal and offered him thirty shekel. It was the price of a slave (cf. Ex 21:32). Impervious to contempt, he accepted their offer; and as though in haste to get rid of him, they paid him money on the spot”  (Hastings J., DD, Ed., Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels, Edinburg: T. & T. Clark). 

Jesus, aware of Judas’ design and anxious to eat the Passover with his disciples (Lk 22:15), “reclining with his disciples, made a startling revelation: ‘One of you shall betray me’ (Jn 13:2). Amid the consternation which ensued, Jesus secretly gave Judas his dismissal. The traitor left the room, and hastening to the high priests, summoned them to action. 

Soon after, Jesus was “rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes,” who handed him to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified” (Mk 8:31; Mt 20:11; see cf. CCC 572). 

Certainly, Judas’ betrayal contributes to the crucifixion and death of Jesus. But Judas is not the only the person responsible for his death. Pontius Pilate, the Sanhedrin, the Jews had their own share too. Behind the scene, all sinners were authors of  Christ’ passion.   

In her Magisterial teaching of the faith and in the witness of her saints, the Church has never forgotten that “sinners were the authors and the ministers of all the sufferings that the divine Redeemer endured” (Roman Catechism 1, 5, 11; cf. Heb 12:3). Taking into account the fact that our sins affect Christ himself (cf. Mt 25:45; Acts 9:4-5) the Church does not hesitate to impute to Christians the gravest responsibility for the torments inflicted upon Jesus, a responsibility with which they have all too often burdened the Jews alone: 

We must regard as guilty all those who continue to relapse into their sins. Since our sins made the Lord Christ suffer the torment of the cross, those who plunge themselves into disorders and crimes crucify the Son of God anew in their hearts (for he is in them) and hold him up to contempt. And it can be seen that our crimes in this case is greater in us than in the Jews. As for them, according to the witness of the Apostle, “None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” We, however, profess to know him. And when we deny him by our deeds, we in some way seem to lay violent hands on him (Roman Catechism 1, 5, 11; cf. Heb 6:6; 1 Cor 2:8).

 

Nor did demons crucify him; it is you who have crucified him and crucify him still, when you delight in your vices and sins (St. Francis of Assisi, Admon. 5, 3. ; CCC 598).

 

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Mt 4:1-11 TEMPTATION OF JESUS

The longing and  desire for heaven  or the single indestructible longing for God, for an eternity spent in intimate, blessed communion with him is the deepest desire of human heart. Heaven is “the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness” (CCC 1024). This is always what we pray for, what we strive for, what we hope for. But there were and will always be temptations, trials and tests on the way that will prevent us, hinder us and steal away from us the heaven that we long for.  

The Gospel for today tells of Jesus’ retreat and temptation in the desert and the beginning of his preaching of God’s good news. Today’s Gospel simply tells of Satan tempting Jesus without describing the nature of temptation. But what is clear is that Jesus passed the test and overcame the test and temptation. 

What is temptation? A temptation is anything than inclines a person to commit sin. It is enticement to evil, seduction to sin and death. Though it is not a sin it is more than trial or test because it lead us to sin. Once we enter into, give in to and submit to, temptation we are already committing sin which will bring us alienation, corruption, death and ultimately hell where Satan reigns and where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth because of it unquenchable fire.  

What distinguishes temptation from trial? Trials or tests are necessary for growth while temptations incline us to sin. “No one who is tempted is free to say, “I am being tempted by God.” Surely God, who is beyond the grasp of evil, tempts no one” (Jas 1:13). God tests the heart puts his own in trial (1Th 2, 4) while only Satan tempts them (Lk 22,37; Ap 2, 10; 12,9). Trial is indispensable condition for growth (cf. Lk 8, 13ff), for sturdiness (1 P 1, 6f), for the manifestation of the truth (1 Co 11, 9: the reason for Christian divisions) and humility (1 Co 10, 12). When we overcome trials, temptations we are proven to be steady and strong (subok na matatag at subok na matibay. Thus freed, tried and tested Christian knows how to discern, verify and “try” everything (R 12, 2; E 5, 10). Trial is therefore the condition of the Church which is still to be tested, although she is already pure; stll to be reformed, although she is already glorious. 

St. Paul assures us that “God will not let you be tested beyond your strength. Along with the test he will give you a way out of it so that you may be able to endure it” ( 1 Cor 10:13; cf. CCC 2848). In fact St. Paul wrote that we should even boast of our tests/afflictions, knowing that afflictions produce endurance, and endurance, proven virtue (cf. Rom 5:3-5; CCC 2897). 

Sources of temptations.  

  • Some temptations arise from within ourselves. “The tug and lure of his own passion has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin reaches maturity it begets death” (cf. Jas 1:14).
    • Our passions and emotions incline us to long for attractive gratifications even through doing acts we know are evil.
    • Pride incline us to sin.
    • Imperfection of our very nature are sources of sin more particularly concupiscence and bad habits or vices. 

 

  • We also experience temptations from the world. Persons, places and things can be occasion of sins to us. Even things good in themselves can be incitements in us to seek the attractive goods in unreasonable ways.  
  • Faith also recognizes Satan, once an angel, but now hostile to God and to us, as one source of temptation. In his hatred for God, he seeks to drive us toward sinful and self-destructive choices (CCC 394-395).

Consequence of being tempted: slavery to sin, alienation and separation, death and ultimately hell where Satan dwells and where Satan reigns and where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth because of it unquenchable fire.

 How do we handle with temptations?  

  • Avoid temptations and keep yourself busy. Idleness is the workshop of the devil. 
  • Resistance, faith and vigilance. Stay sober and alert because your enemy the Devil is like a prowling lion, waiting for someone to devour. Resist him and solid in your faith. 
  • Prayer. In communion with their master, the disciples’ prayer is a battle; “only by keeping watch in prayer can one avoid falling into temptation” ( cf. Lk 22:40, 46). “Pray that he will not let you be tested beyond your strength” (cf. 1 Cor 10:13). Pray that the Father “lead us not into temptations and allow us to be overcome by it (cf. CCC 2846). Nothing is equal to prayer; for what is impossible it makes possible, what is difficult, easy…Those who pray are certainly saved; those who do not pray are certainly damned. 
  • Repentance and conversion. Always return to the Lord with fasting, weeping and mourning. For he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, rich in kindness and relenting in punishment.  
  • Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Always seek in everything the will of God. Nothing more, nothing less and nothing else.  

Temptations are not themselves sins and no one entirely escape temptation. Hence, every time we celebrate the holy sacrifice of the Mass let us always pray that God our Father “lead us not into temptations and allow us to overcome by it (cf. CCC 2840)” then address this prayer to him: “Deliver us Lord from all evil and grant  us peace in our day. In your mercy keep us pray from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our savior Jesus Christ”  (Missale Romanum, Embolism after the Lord’s Prayer, 126).  

“Happy is the man who holds out to the end through trial! Once he has been proved, he will receive the crown of life the Lord has promise to those who love him” (Jas 3:12)

 

 

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John 18:1—19:42 The crucifixion of Jesus

Today, allow me to share with you a catechetical homily based on Catechism of Catholic Church (CCC) that will be of help in enlightening every one and prevent or  free us from judging harshly and blaming only the Jews, Judas, Pilate or even the demons  whom we thought the sole responsible individuals and  groups for the passion and death of Jesus.

From the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, certain Pharisees and partisans of Herod together with priests and scribes agreed together to destroy Jesus because of his  certain acts like expelling demons, forgiving sins, healing on the sabbath day, his novel interpretation of the precepts of the Law regarding purity, and his familiarity with tax collectors and public sinners.

Some ill-intentioned persons suspected Jesus of demonic possession. He is accused of blasphemy and false prophecy, religious crimes which the Law punished with death by stoning.

In the eyes of many in Israel, Jesus seems to be acting against essential institutions of the Chosen People:

– submission to the whole of the Law in its written commandments and, for the Pharisees, in the interpretation of oral tradition;

– the centrality of the Temple at Jerusalem as the holy place where God’s presence dwells in a special way;

– faith in the one God whose glory no man can share.

Were the Jewish leaders unanimous in their position towards Jesus?  The religious authorities in Jerusalem were not unanimous about what stance to take towards Jesus. But one thing is for sure. Some were vocal and aggressive in their conviction and in their attempts to eliminate him.

The Pharisees threatened to excommunicate his followers.

To those who feared that “everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation”, the high priest Caiaphas replied by prophesying: “It is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish.”

The Sanhedrin, having declared Jesus deserving of death as a blasphemer, hands him over to the Romans, accusing him of political revolt, a charge that puts him in the same category as Barabbas who had been accused of sedition.

The chief priests also threatened Pilate politically so that he would condemn Jesus to death.

Are the Jews collectively responsible for Jesus’ death? The personal sin of the participants (Judas, the Sanhedrin, Pilate) is known to God alone. Hence we cannot lay responsibility for the trial on the Jews in Jerusalem as a whole, despite the outcry of a manipulated crowd.

Jesus himself, in forgiving them on the cross, and Peter in following suit, both accept “the ignorance” of the Jews of Jerusalem and even of their leaders.

Still less can we extend responsibility to other Jews of different times and places, based merely on the crowd’s cry: “His blood be on us and on our children!”

Neither all Jews indiscriminately at that time, nor Jews today, can be charged with the crimes committed during his Passion. . . The Jews should not be spoken of as rejected or accursed as if this followed from holy Scripture.

Who, then, were the authors of Jesus’ passion and death on the Cross? “Sinners were the authors and the ministers of all the sufferings that the divine Redeemer endured.”

Taking into account the fact that our sins affect Christ himself, the Church does not hesitate to impute to Christians the gravest responsibility for the torments inflicted upon Jesus, a responsibility with which they have all too often burdened the Jews alone:

We must regard as guilty all those who continue to relapse into their sins.

Since our sins made the Lord Christ suffer the torment of the cross, those who plunge themselves into disorders and crimes crucify the Son of God anew in their hearts and hold him up to contempt.

And when we deny him by our deeds, we in some way seem to lay violent hands on him.

“Nor did demons crucify him; it is you who have crucified him and crucify him still, when you delight in your vices and sins.”

Jesus’ violent death was not the result of chance in an unfortunate coincidence of circumstances, but is part of the mystery of God’s plan of salvation.

Jesus was delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God. This Biblical language does not mean that those who handed him over were merely passive players in a scenario written in advance by God.

For the sake of accomplishing his plan of salvation, God permitted the acts that flowed from their blindness and wickedness.

So when you see a figure of Jesus crucified, remember this. It was not nails or ropes that fixed him to the cross but LOVE. God’s love for us!

To end my homily, allow me again to ask this fundamental question:

Who, then, were the authors of Jesus’ passion and death on the Cross?

“Sinners were the authors and the ministers of all the sufferings that the divine Redeemer endured.”  “It is you who have crucified him and crucify him still, when you delight in your vices and sins.”

Prayer:

A man of extraordinary religious insight.
A man who did die – a cruel death.

On this day we look at the cross, and we remember…
the betrayal of friendship and its consequences,
the casual cruelty of Roman authority and execution,
and how unreliable others proved to be in a crisis.

On this day may we also remember
that religious bigotry, cruelty and unreliability
are still a part of our everyday lives.

On this day, then, may we learn some new precepts for living…
do not avoid contact with suffering,
or close your eyes before suffering;
do not maintain anger or hatred;
do not say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest, or to impress people;
do not live with a vocation that is harmful to humans and nature

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Mark 7:14-23 The Tradition of the Elders

Mark 7:21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications

Spencer W. Kimball

“Transgression and uncleanness and filth are found in all sexual sins. In clarifying a parable, the Savior said: .

   ‘.. Out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,    Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:    All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.’ (“mark 7:21″mark 7:22″mark 7:23Mark 7:21-23.)

“It is not the soil of earth or the grease on a person’s hands that defile him; nor is it the fingernails ‘edged in black,’ the accumulated perspiration from honest toil, or the body odor resulting from heavy work. One may bathe hourly, perfume oneself often, have hair shampooed frequently, have fingernails manicured daily, and be a master at soft-spoken utterances, and still be as filthy as hell’s cesspools. What defiles is sin, and especially sexual sin.” (The Miracle of Forgiveness [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969], 62)

http://www.gospeldoctrine.com/NewTestament/ntindex.html

Reflection: From their hearts. One is right before God not because of the clean food one eats or because of the washing ritual prescribed by the Pharisees. What matters is conversion or change of heart. To be a child of God and a disciple of Jesus is to have a contrite heart and to live an honest and holy life.

We can all relate with God and enter into communion with God. We are not categorized as clean or unclean. We can share in God’s life and work in God’s vineyard. Jesus calls for purity of heart which expresses itself in inspiring others, doing good for others, caring for people in need, forgiving, and seeking forgiveness.

What is in your heart? What comes out of your lips?

http://graceandspace.org/welcome/home/365-days-with-the-lord/1250-the-tradition-of-the-elders.html

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Mk 21:33-43, 45-46: The Parable of the Tenants

NICE GUYS?

“They seized him, dragged him outside the vineyard, and killed him.” —Matthew 21:39

Joseph’s brothers intended to kill him, but Reuben proposed they throw him into a cistern where he would die slowly of starvation (Gn 37:21-24). Although Reuben planned to come back and rescue Joseph, the other brothers thought they were being nice guys by giving Joseph a slow death rather than a fast one. Judah was even nicer than the other nice guys and proposed that Joseph be sold as a slave for twenty pieces of silver (Gn 37:26-28).

The brothers transacted the sale of their brother after they had sat down to their meal (Gn 37:25). They were so callous that they could eat after condemning Joseph to starvation, and then sell him between mouthfuls of “grub.” How cold-blooded can the human person be to murder, munch, and sell all together? It’s like shooting someone while snacking on a bag of potato chips.

We can be appalled at others’ callousness, but we must realize we’re the same way. Jesus’ brutal death on the cross is the everlasting monument to the cold-blooded callousness of the human race. By our sins, without flinching, we shared in the murder of Jesus, God Himself (Catechism, 598). Although we try to make excuses, we were no nicer than Joseph’s brothers. We not only killed our Brother, we killed God’s only Son. We killed God. We must repent.

Prayer: Father, this Lent may I be baptized in — immersed in — repentance (Lk 3:3). Promise: “The Stone Which the builders rejected has become the Keystone of the structure. It was the Lord Who did this and we find it marvelous to behold.” —Mt 21:42 Praise: Through the years, the Davids opened their home in hospitality to countless people of all ages.

Source:  Presentation Ministries

Wretched tenants In Jesus’ time, many vineyard owners were rich absentee landlords. They had property in Israel but lived in Rome or other big cities.

Tenant farmers instead could hardly make ends meet: They paid rent, taxes, and social dues. Naturally, they were frustrated, desperate, and driven to violence.

The parable is directed at Jesus’ opponents. The “antagonist” is no longer the landlord, but the “violent and greedy tenants” who do not give God his due. The parable recalls Isaiah’s “Song of the Vineyard” (Is 5:1-7). But while, in Isaiah, the problem lay with Israel itself, in Jesus’ parable it now lies with the leadership of the people. The chief priests and the Pharisees realize that Jesus is directing the parable at them, warning them that patronage will be taken from them and given to those able to produce fruits.

The parable may as well be directed at Matthew’s own community. Stewardship has been transferred to the leaders of the Judeo-Christian community. But they, too, are to take care that they produce proper fruit, otherwise it will be taken away from them and given to others more worthy.

SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2010,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.,); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: books@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph

Application of the parable

  • Learn how to rightly estimate and improve your privileges
  • Earnestly seek to obtain and retain the favor of the Lord
  • Be prepared to surrender your accounts, with joy rather than grief

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