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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Mark 12, 1-12

He went on to speak to them in parables, 'A man planted a vineyard; he fenced it round, dug out a trough for the winepress and built a tower; then he leased it to tenants and went abroad.

When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them his share of the produce of the vineyard.

But they seized the man, thrashed him and sent him away empty handed.

Next he sent another servant to them; him they beat about the head and treated shamefully.

And he sent another and him they killed; then a number of others, and they thrashed some and killed the rest.

He had still someone left: his beloved son. He sent him to them last of all, thinking, "They will respect my son."

But those tenants said to each other, "This is the heir. Come on, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours."

So they seized him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard.

Now what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and make an end of the tenants and give the vineyard to others.

Have you not read this text of scripture: The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;

this is the Lord's doing, and we marvel at it ?'

And they would have liked to arrest him, because they realised that the parable was aimed at them, but they were afraid of the crowds. So they left him alone and went away.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

In response to the refusal of the leaders of the people to accept his authority over their lives and the life of Israel, Jesus narrates the parable of the murderous tenants. His listeners know well what the vineyard represents: the people of Israel. The prophets spoke of it often. And the people also know the identity of the owner who planted, kept, and cultivated it: the Lord God. With a very brief glance at the history of the people of Israel, Jesus presents himself as the son sent to save the vineyard. And he saves it even at the price of being thrown out and killed. With these words, Jesus clarifies the source of his authority for his listeners: God’s love for his people. This is the limitless love that Jesus wants to live for God’s people, upon which his authority and the authority of his Word are founded. It is not his role that gives Jesus his authority, but his love and his service, to the point of dying. This is the law that presides over the life of the Christian community, and Jesus is the highest manifestation. He loves his friends, those that the Father has entrusted to him, more than his own life. Thus is why he has authority on the vineyard. They tried to seize him, Matthew writes, but they were afraid. This is to underline the fact that they will not be the ones to put Jesus to death; it is Jesus himself who "hands himself over" so that the vineyard might not be abandoned and be able to grow and bear fruit. How can we not welcome a man who loves so greatly? In the violent death of the "heir", the "beloved son", we already see the shadow of the Passion. The Gospel, however, announces that the owner will come and "give the vineyard to others." We are the others, we who are called to serve in the Lord’s vineyard wherever we are in the world.

Prayer for the Sick