Monday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

God’s faithfulness

He began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and left on a journey. At the proper time he sent a servant to the tenants to obtain from them some of the produce of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent them another servant. And that one they beat over the head and treated shamefully. He sent yet another whom they killed. So, too, many others; some they beat, others they killed. He had one other to send, a beloved son. He sent him to them last of all, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’So they seized him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. What (then) will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come, put the tenants to death, and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this scripture passage: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes’?” They were seeking to arrest him, but they feared the crowd …. So they left him and went away. Mk 12,1-12

This parable is an allegorical representation of the history of salvation, which embraces both the past and the future, and the owner of the vineyard is clearly God. It summarizes the whole history of Israel as an impending tide of malice, rising and never ending provocation against God’s goodness, who responds with ever increasing mercy, reaching the highest level when he decides to send his Son into the world, in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. But the latter is killed, “This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours”. When the Son is killed, it will seem as if the story of the infinite and one-sided love of God finishes too, from which you would expect, as a logical solution, revenge. In God, however, there is no vengeance, there is only mercy. In that extreme situation, after the forgiveness given to everybody and the death on the cross, history will have to take note of the resurrection of Christ, the victim of infidelity. From that extraordinary event, the Church was born, a new humanity whose cornerstone is Jesus Christ. Even in the Church, however, the temptation is always the same: the desire to take possession of the inheritance and killing the Son, Jesus Christ. Every time we think we are right and deserving, asking for the inheritance of the Kingdom and expecting, even because of our faith, we reject the gift of salvation and kill the son, for God’s love and faithfulness are for free.

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