Memory of Jesus crucified

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Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Matthew 21,33-43.45-46

'Listen to another parable. There was a man, a landowner, who planted a vineyard; he fenced it round, dug a winepress in it and built a tower; then he leased it to tenants and went abroad. When vintage time drew near he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his servants, thrashed one, killed another and stoned a third. Next he sent some more servants, this time a larger number, and they dealt with 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 each other, "This is the heir. Come on, let us kill him and take over his inheritance." So they seized him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?' They answered, 'He will bring those wretches to a wretched end and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will deliver the produce to him at the proper time.' Jesus said to them, 'Have you never read in the scriptures: The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this is the Lord's doing and we marvel at it? 'I tell you, then, that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and givena people who will produce its fruit.' When they heard his parables, the chief priests and the scribes realised he was speaking about them, but though they would have liked to arrest him they were afraid of the crowds, who looked on him as a prophet.

 

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

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

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

To those who were listening this parable at Jesus' time it was clear that the vineyard represented the people of Isarel, and the master was God who was taking care of it with unbelievable love. The parable has its apex when the harvest comes, and the landowner sends his servants to the tenants to collect the harvest. Their reaction of the tenants is violent: as soon as they arrive, they are caught and one is beaten, another killed, and another stoned. The landowner, puzzled by this violence, sends servants "again", but they suffer the same fate. Finally, Jesus says, the landowner sends his own son, believing, "They will respect my son." But the fury of the tenants explodes even more ferociously; they seize him, throw him out of the vineyard, and kill him. These words literally describe the refusal of welcoming Jesus that not only individuals but the very city and its inhabitants had. Jesus was born outside of Bethlehem; he died outside of Jerusalem. Jesus denounces very lucidly and courageously the infidelity that goes so far as rejecting the Gospel and crucifying him. The Lord expected the "fruits" from the "vineyard", but he was "repaid" with the killing first of the servants and finally of His Son himself. God, however, does not resign himself. The Son enlists new tenants who will take care of the vineyard and it will bear new and abundant fruits. The new people of God is qualified by the "fruits" of the Gospel: that is, by the faith which generates works of justice and mercy. In other words, the fruits coincide with fidelity to God's love and his Gospel. As it is written (Jn 15:2): "He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit." And again, "You will know them by their fruits."