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Lent,4th S,March27,11

Lent,4th S,March 27,11

(Mt.21:33-46)

In today’s Gospel, Jesus, through the parable of the tenants, exposes the treacherous mind-sets of the Jewish leaders who refuse to accept him as the Savior. Instead of seeing the clear evidence that is present before them about the divine nature of Jesus and his mission, they close their eyes to the fact of acknowledging him as the Savior and dabble in questions of legal purity and faithfulness to their rituals and traditions.

The parable is also an allegory. Those who hear the parable know right away that the owner of the Vineyard is God and the tenants are the Jewish leaders. The servants are the prophets and the son is Jesus Himself. Just as the servants killed the slaves and the son , so too, the forefathers of the present generation have persecuted and killed the prophets and now they are trying to kill him. Jesus warns them of the great punishment that awaits them if they continue persisting in their refusal. The kingdom of God will be taken away from them and given to those who are open to accept the will of God.

What is the relevance of the parable for each one of us today?

During this season of Lent, we are preparing ourselves spiritually to become more open to the will of God in our lives. Our past lives have been an accumulation of sins and omissions. Our hearts were turned away form God. We were more concerned about our material well-being, forgetting the more profound and deeper aspects of our lives. We forget that what is important in our lives is the acceptance of the will of God.

If we examine our lives, we will find that we have been very selfish and uncharitable. Our words have wounded so many people. Our actions have not been in conformity with our faith. We have wandered far away from the paths of love and forgiveness. Our family life has become strained because of our selfishness and arrogance. We cannot accept our neighbors and we are negative and critical about them. In so many ways, the vineyard of lives is not producing fruits nor are we willing to allow the Lord to change the vineyards to be fruitful.

Today, Jesus gives us another opportunity to look at the vineyard of our lives and see what we can do to be more faithful and responsive to God in our lives. We have to accept Jesus as the Savior of our lives. The moment of conversion is near us and it would be foolish to refuse to accept Jesus in our lives. We are running after mirages of worldly glory and prosperity.

We have to listen to the word of God that comes to us through the Bible and the Church and see in what way we can change our attitudes and mind-sets in order to be more charitable and forgiving. What is the purpose of all these acts of penance if they do not help us to become more loving and compassionate? The measure of our attachment to Jesus comes from our openness to our neighbors, friends and members of our families.

Archbishop Sheen puts it beautifully in his book, “Lift up your Heart”: “The truth is that it makes no difference where we are; it all depends on whether what we are doing is God’s will and done for love of Him.”

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