This week saw the beginning of the month of October and there are two aspects to this month. It is the month of the rosary and the feast of the Holy Rosary is celebrated on Tuesday 7th  and it is also the month when we celebrate the missionary effort of the Church throughout the world with World Mission Sunday on the 19th .

Well here we are again this weekend back in the vineyard and our first reading and the Gospel are all about the grapes and of course the wine that comes as we all know from the grapes. But of course it isn’t really about the grapes or the wine. The parable is also the story of the “tenants” and here again we are invited to feel with them. We must however understand their frame of mind correctly. In many cultures today “tenants” are poor people who are harshly treated by their landowners – the historical Jesus would have been on their side. The tenants in the parable are quite different. In the original context the tenants represent “the chief priests and elders of the people”.

In the parable the “tenants” become angry when they are reminded that the vineyard has been leased to them and they must be accountable for what they have done or not done with it. Their anger grows ever more violent as the story develops, the root of their anger is revealed – they want to own the vineyard rather than to work there and help the vines grow and produce grapes that aren’t sour but sweet.

Through the parable of the vineyard Jesus reprimands the “chief priests and elders of the people” gathered around him.  He focused on the unfaithful people who, by their sin and failure to listen to the prophets, had brought God’s anger down on them. Jesus’ reference to the killing of the King’s only Son was not lost on the Pharisees. They had already decided to kill this Jesus who claimed to be the Son of God. Jesus’ words enraged them, and their hearts were further hardened against Him and it all ended up at the Cross of Calvary on Good Friday. So today we too are called to go out into the vineyard to be the workers rather than the owners to nourish the vines of other people’s faith by our words and deeds so that as a result of our efforts they may produce much good sweet wine.



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