Catechetical Corner

Jesus tells the parable about the wicked tenants

From the desk of Ms. Kathleen Cook, Director of Religious Education

Theme: Jesus tells the parable about the wicked tenants.

Scripture: The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Matthew 21:35-39

Today’s Gospel is a parable. It is a story about a man who owned some land. He planted some grapes on the land and then rented it to some other farmers who were to work in the vineyard and take care of it for him. Part of the agreement he had with these farmers was that they would give him a share of the crops. When it came time to harvest the grapes, the landowner sent his servants to collect his share of the harvest. The farmers who had leased the land beat the servants and even killed one of them. They refused to give the landowner what was owed to him. A second time the landowner sent servants, more than the first time, but again the farmers treated them in the same way.

Finally, he sent his own son, thinking, “Surely they will respect my son.” But when they saw the son coming, they said, “This is the landowner’s son, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.”

Jesus asked the men listening to his story, “What do you think the landowner will do to those men?” “He will destroy those wicked men, and rent his land to someone else, who will give him his share of the fruit at harvest time” answered his listeners.

In this story that Jesus told, the landowner represents God. God first sent men such as Noah, Moses, David, the prophet Isaiah,and others to tell people of his love for them and to call them to turn away from their wicked ways, but many would not listen.

Finally, he sent His own Son, Jesus. You know what they did to him, don’t you? That’s right, they crucified him.

God gave them a chance. He even gave them a second chance—and a third. But when they rejected His Son, that was their last chance.

He is our last chance too—our only chance to have eternal life in heaven with him.

Dear Father, we thank you for sending us Jesus, your only Son. Help us to remember that he is our only chance to receive eternal life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Reflect: If a word or phrase from the Gospel captures your heart, sit quietly for several minutes, repeating it to yourself and asking God to show you how it applies to your life. Or reflect and possibly journal on the following question: How has God warned you through other people that you needed to make a change in your life?

Suggested book that compliments today’s Gospel:

Lou Gehrig: The Luckiest Man

Written by David A. Adler

Illustrated by Terry Widener

Family Discussion: In an ideal household, family members know the rules and follow them consistently. Even the most conscientious among us, however, sometimes needs to be reminded of the rules and their importance. How we respond to such correction reveals our true character. In today’s Gospel Jesus exposes the religious leaders for their failure to heed God’s messengers. It is an opportunity for us to consider how we respond to those who are God’s messengers today, calling us to correct our ways and return to the way of the Lord.

As you gather as a family, talk about some of the most important rules of your household. Consider how consistently family members follow these rules. How are family members reminded when rules are not being followed? How do they respond? In today’s Gospel Jesus corrects the religious leaders through a parable telling them that they have not heeded God’s messengers. Read Matthew 21:33-43. What are some of God’s rules that we must follow? How do we respond to God’s messengers today? Pray together as a family that you will heed God’s messengers and follow God’s ways. Pray together the Act of Contrition for the times when your family has not heeded God’s word.