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Sa isang Salita, Rev. Msgr. Wilfredo Andrey, BenJeronimo, Gospel of our Lord Jesus, The Word Explained, #DailyGospel, #SaIsangSalita
The parable of the vineyard is found in all of the synoptic gospels (Mt 21:33-44; cf Mk 12:1-12; Lk 20:9-19) and is built upon the Vineyard Song of Isaiah 5:1-7, (cf 1st Reading: the owner is God and the vineyard is Israel, and despite all God’s efforts expended produces only wild grapes). In the Gospel, tenants are added who are responsible for producing the fruits for the owner. It is the second of the three consecutive parables (21:28 – 22:14) that form an extended commentary on the controversy that dominates Chapters 21-23 between Jesus and the religious leaders of Israel.
The chief priests and the Pharisees are the tenants whose responsibility is to produce the fruit the owner’s servants are sent to collect. The two sets of servants are the prophets: they are rejected, abused, even killed, (vv34-36 cf Jer 20:2; 26:21-23; and were often referred to by Jesus, 5:12; 22:6; 23:30-37). The son, the final emissary, is Jesus himself, with an allusion to his death outside of Jerusalem (vv38-39; Jn 19:17; Heb 13:12f). As the tenants sought to get rid of the son and heir, so the chief priests and elders were wanting to get rid of God’s Son. Quoting the Psalm about the ‘stone rejected which became the cornerstone’, (v42; cf Ps 118:17, 22-23), it is a prophetic illustration of Jesus’ rejection by his people and his eventual vindication and his ultimate triumph.
The term “karpos” ( καρπὸς ) is constantly used in the Bible both OT. But aside from its literal meaning of fruit, grain, or harvest; or in the sense of “offspring” (Lk 1.42) or “descendant” (Acts 2.30), the kind of fruit expected by the owner of the vineyard refers metaphorially to the duty Israel owes to God (cf. Isa 5:4), to a godly lifestyle which is consistent with a rightly-ordered covenant relationship with God. The Matthean ideal of ” bearing fruit” connotes the sense of “moral characteristics”: repentance (3:8,10); good deeds (7:16-20; 12:33); and fruitfulness (13:8; 21:19). In this regard the religious leaders of his time failed to teach such, nurture spiritual growth and fruitfulness among the people, and inspire covenant fidelity, for they themselves live an unrepentant and duplicity of life. Thus responsibility over the vineyard will be transferred to the faithful ones as promised in Isa 55:3-5. (vv43, 45).
Whether the present-day “tenants of the vineyard of the Lord” produce fruits or not, we, nevertheless, remain God’s vineyard which He continually cultivates. Are we producing fruits of “whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, gracious…excellence, worthy of praise”, (cf 2nd reading, Phil 4:6-9)? May it be so. Amen.