Sunday, May 31, 2009

Gospel for Monday, 9th Week in Ordinary Time

Memorial: St Justin, Martyr

From: Mark 12:1-12

The Parable of the Wicked Tenants

[1] And he began to speak to them in parables. "A man planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a pit for the wine press, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country. [2] When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. [3] And they took him and beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. [4] Again he sent to them another servant, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully. [5]And he sent another, and him they killed; and so with many others, some they beat and some they killed. [6] He had still one other, a beloved son; finally he sent him to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.' [7] But those tenants said to one another, 'This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.' [8] And they took him and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard. [9] What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants, and give the vineyard to others. [10] Have you not read the scripture: 'The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; [11] this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes'?" [12] And they tried to arrest him but feared the multitude, for they perceived that he had told the parable against them; so they left him and went away.
1-12. This parable is a masterly summary of history of salvation. To explain the mystery of his redemptive death, Jesus makes use of one of the most beautiful allegories of the Old Testament the so-called "song of the vineyard," in which Isaiah (5:1-7) prophesied Israel's ingratitude for God's favors. On the basis of this Isaiah text, Jesus reveals the patience of God, who sends one messenger after another--the prophets of the Old Testament--until at last, as the text says, he sends "his beloved son", Jesus, whom the tenants will kill. This _expression, as also that which God himself uses to describe Christ at Baptism (1:11) and the Transfiguration (9:7), points to the divinity of Jesus, who is the cornerstone of salvation, rejected by the builders in their selfishness and pride. To the Jews listening to Jesus telling this parable, his meaning must have been crystal clear. The rulers "perceived that he had told the parable against them" (v. 12) and that it was about the fulfillment of the Isaiah prophecy (cf. note on Mt 21:33-46).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

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