Friday of the Second Week of Lent

Lord plan of salvation

“Hear another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard …. Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey. When vintage time drew near, he sent his servants ….  to obtain his produce. But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat, another they killed, and a third they stoned. Again he sent other servants …. but they treated them in the same way. Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’ …. They … killed him. What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?” They answered him, “He will put those wretched men to a wretched death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper times.” Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone ….  When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they knew that he was speaking about them. And although they were attempting to arrest him.  Mt 21,33-43.45-46

In today’s passage, the chief priests and the Pharisees immediately realize that Jesus is talking about them and try to devise ways to catch and kill him. Now, Jesus of Nazareth has become the “stone rejected” by his people and, therefore, can fully show himself as the Son of God, the heir. This failure will give birth to the new temple, of which Jesus, crucified and resurrected, will become the cornerstone, the one that will hold the whole building of the history of salvation. Today’s excerpt is an ultimate parable, which summarizes the past and the future of Jesus and the people of Israel, whose history is remembered as a rising tide of wickedness and rejection of salvation. Every action by God has been rejected, but he has replied with greater and greater compassion and loyalty, to the point that he intervened directly, by sending his Son. It is such a maddening strategy that it could only be conceived by God’s mind: the disciples will understand it only in the morning of the resurrection. Recognizing in Jesus of Nazareth, crucified and resurrected, the Son of God who has saved us is the last chance of salvation for man: there will be no other. Before this ultimate gift, we can only accept or reject. We know how our Lord’s plan of salvation has developed up to now: after Jesus was rejected by his people, the focal point of history moved from Jerusalem to Rome and those who at that time were pagans have become the new people of God. Since then, Christianity has virtually been identified with the West, which is, in practice, literally de-Christianizing now. In the magazine “Oasis”, the grand mufti of Bosnia, Mustafa Ceric, has denounced the Western seven deadly sins: wealth without working, education without morals, business without ethics, pleasure without conscience, politics without principles, science without liability, society without family, to which we can add faith without sacrifice. What will happen in the future? We do not know, but one thing is certain: our Lord’s plan of salvation never stops.

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