Our Sunday gospel readings work out very conveniently for us. Just a fortnight ago, we meditated on a fruitful vineyard at harvest time. We imagined the workers, and how they got hired, and how much they got paid at sundown.
Our parable this Sunday has one very significant difference. A difference involving the owner. Last time, we saw the vineyard owner jog up and down the road to the town square, and back to the vineyard–not once, not twice, but six times. In the Parable of the Wicked Tenants, on the other hand, the owner decided to go on…a journey. Where? Far away.
As well he might. After all, as we read, he had established a perfectly workable vineyard. Everything had been appointed well. When harvest time came, the tenants should have had an easy time of things.
They probably did have a very easy time–so easy that they got greedy. They forgot the debt they owed the landowner, whose hard work had made the land so orderly and fruitful for them.
Now, we cannot but marvel at the peaceable disposition of the owner. His vineyard of course belongs by right of inheritance to his son. Only a man of consummate peacefulness would send this vulnerable son to the tenants as the final ambassador of reconciliation and friendship. The owner sent the rightful heir as an emissary not of vengeance, but of love, to the rebels who had already killed all his previous messengers.
It would seem that the owner simply never thought of violence. It was only the chief priests and elders who, afterward, said that the tenants deserved to die wretchedly for their crimes. The owner himself never said any such thing.
Now, the divine Son came to reconcile us human beings with our Creator, Whom we had grievously wronged by all our sins. But when the Son came, we rebelled all the more, and shed His most-precious Blood.
Praised be God the Father Almighty! This very shedding of the Son’s Blood has actually made us whole. Not only did God not punish us for killing His Son–He actually gave us His Son’s perfect sacrifice of Himself to be our sacrifice, too.
Now we can make our humble offering to God–as the tenants in the parable should have done in the first place. We can offer what we have to offer, and we can do it without anxiety about the fact that it isn’t enough–which it never could be anyway
No. Trusting in God’s loving plan, we peacefully and confidently come to His altar and offer Him ourselves and all that we have to give, along with the sacrifice of the Body and Blood of the divine Son. Christ’s sacrifice is perfect, and ours in part of it. So we stand before God without fear.