From a Creighton Student's Perspective
October 5th, 2008
Senior Spanish, Justice & Society double major
“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 seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.” Matthew 21:37
In today’s readings, it is quite easy to see that the story of the great and wonderful vineyard, brought to us by the Prophet Isaiah, is reiterated by Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel. In our first reading Isaiah shows us with what great care the vineyard was brought to life. How it was planted amongst the most fertile soil, cleared of all stones, sown with the best vines, protected by a mighty watchtower and readied with a wine press. In using such descriptive imagery, Isaiah is demonstrating that much time, effort, and care has been placed into this vineyard. And alas, what grew upon such tended land but wild grapes.
Moving along to Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus continues the story by saying that the landowner then entrusted his vineyard to the care of others and in Jesus’ rendition, there is hope that some of the harvest could yet be saved; maybe not all of the grapes are bad. When the time arrived for the salvageable harvest to be collected from the tenants, those sent by the landowner were beaten down. The landowner then sent his own son to collect that which he had sown, and as the tenants wanted the harvest only for themselves, he was killed.
The way in which these two readings so harmoniously mold together is twofold for me. Beginning with Isaiah we look at the vineyard, this carefully mastered and intentionally and lovingly planned garden, as the People of God. Each one of us is planted with love in our hearts and all the knowledge and strength to grow, to prosper, and to do good in this world. In accepting that we are God’s children we also accept that we are created in goodness, not in hatred, violence, and destruction. And alas, what has grown within us and between us but just that; persecution, division, and despair. One can imagine that in the same way the landowner cried, “What more was there to do for my vineyard that I had not done?” God cries, “What more can I do to make you love and care for one another in the way in which I have planned?”
Returning again to Matthew’s Gospel, we can now understand that those sent by the landowner to gather the good left and withering amongst the bad to be whom else but the prophets of our Lord! And after they are rejected and beaten, who does God next send but Christ the Savior, God’s only Son and yet He too was betrayed, beaten, and finally murdered on the cross.
Now the question that lingers is this, when will we stop killing
those who bring us the Good Word of God? Those to this day who cry
for peace and change are still persecuted, threatened, and killed.
Human rights workers all over the world continually “disappear,”
and voices crying for justice are continually “silenced.”
For as long as the “wild grapes” of violence, destruction,
and despair continue to grow in God’s fertile vineyard, will
we be sent prophets of God’s love. Let us pray together for
the strength to change, to use the courage, wisdom, and love that
God has planted within us to help spread the Word of God. Let us
each be servants of peace and overcome the death that will surely
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