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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Friday of the Second Week in Lent

1st Reading (Gen 37:3-4.12-13a.17b-28): Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons, for he was the child of his old age; and he had made him a long tunic. When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his sons, they hated him so much that they would not even greet him.

One day, when his brothers had gone to pasture their father's flocks at Shechem, Israel said to Joseph: «Your brothers, you know, are tending our flocks at Shechem. Get ready; I will send you to them». So Joseph went after his brothers and caught up with them in Dothan. They noticed him from a distance, and before he came up to them, they plotted to kill him. They said to one another: «Here comes that master dreamer!». Come on, let us kill him and throw him into one of the cisterns here; we could say that a wild beast devoured him. We shall then see what comes of his dreams».

When Reuben heard this, he tried to save him from their hands, saying: «We must not take his life. Instead of shedding blood», he continued, «just throw him into that cistern there in the desert; but do not kill him outright». His purpose was to rescue him from their hands and return him to his father. So when Joseph came up to them, they stripped him of the long tunic he had on; then they took him and threw him into the cistern, which was empty and dry.

They then sat down to their meal. Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, their camels laden with gum, balm and resin to be taken down to Egypt. Judah said to his brothers: «What is to be gained by killing our brother and concealing his blood? Rather, let us sell him to these Ishmaelites, instead of doing away with him ourselves. After all, he is our brother, our own flesh». His brothers agreed. They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.
Responsorial Psalm: 104
R/. Remember the marvels the Lord has done.
When the Lord called down a famine on the land and ruined the crop that sustained them, he sent a man before them, Joseph, sold as a slave.

They had weighed him down with fetters, and he was bound with chains, till his prediction came to pass and the word of the Lord proved him true.

The king sent and released him, the ruler of the peoples set him free. He made him lord of his house and ruler of all his possessions.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 3:16): God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son; so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.
Gospel text (Mt 21:33-43.45-46): 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.

When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they knew that he was speaking about them. And although they were attempting to arrest him, they feared the crowds, for they regarded him as a prophet.

“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone”

Fr. Melcior QUEROL i Solà (Ribes de Freser, Girona, Spain)

Today, Jesus, with the parable of the homicidal tenants, speaks about the betrayal of trust; He compares the vineyard to the people of Israel and the wine growers to the chiefs of the chosen people. Them, and in them, all of Abraham's descendants, have been entrusted with the kingdom of God, but they have embezzled the heritage: “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.” (Mt 21:43).

At the beginning of Matthew's Gospel, the Good News seems to be addressed only to the people of Israel. Already in the Old Covenant, the chosen people, had the mission of announcing and bringing salvation to all other nations. But Israel has been unfaithful to its mission. Jesus, the intermediate of the New Covenant, will gather around him the twelve Apostles, a symbol of the “new” Israel, called to yield a harvest of fruits of eternal life and to announce their salvation to all the other peoples.

This new Israel is the Church, all the baptized. We have received in the person of Jesus and in his message, a most unique gift we must make bear fruit. We cannot resign ourselves to an individualist and shortsighted experience of our faith; we must transmit it and give it to anyone who may come close. Hence, we can derive that the first fruit is to live our faith in the warmth of our family, that of the Christian community. That will be easy, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone” (Mt 18:20).

But ours is an open Christian community, that is, basically missionary (second fruit). Because of the strength and beauty of the Resurrected “in the midst of us”, the community is appealing in all its gestures and acts, and each one of its members has the capacity to beget men and women to the new life of the Resurrected. And a third fruit, is for us to live with the conviction and certitude that we can find in the Gospel the solution to all our problems.

Let's live in the saint Fear of God, lest the Kingdom of Heaven be taken from us and given to others.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “God needs not toils, but obedience.” (Saint John Chrysostom)

  • “The history of the Prophets, their sufferings, tells that the servants are manhandled. Although the "son" will suffer the same fate, the "Owner" will not abandon the vineyard: he will lease it to others. Isn’t what is said in the parable actually a description of our present world?.” (Benedict XVI)

  • “The Church is a cultivated field, the tillage of God. On that land the ancient olive tree grows whose holy roots were the prophets and in which the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles has been brought about and will be brought about again. That land, like a choice vineyard, has been planted by the heavenly cultivator. Yet the true vine is Christ who gives life and fruitfulness to the branches, that is, to us, who through the Church remain in Christ, without whom we can do nothing (Rom 11:13-26)?.” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 755)