Breakfast With the Word Friday 2nd Week of Lent
The dictionary defines tenants as people who only occupy a land or property rented or leased to them by a landlord. In actual fact, they are not the rightful owner of the property. Tenants only take care of the property and lives in it for a while. Tenants are simply occupants of the land or a house. Since tenants are not the rightful owner, one day, their time will elapse.
In this gospel of Matthew 21:33-43,45-46, Jesus tells the story of a vineyard owner who planted his vineyard and built a fence around it, with a wine press in it. He also has a tower built in the vineyard. The owner of the vineyard hence leased it to some tenants and left to a distant land.
When the harvest came, the owner sent his servants to collect the expected production from the farmland. The tenants thrashed, stoned and killed them.
The more he sent, is more they do the same. When the owner sent His son, they also threw him out and killed him. Jesus asks them what then could happen when the owner of the vineyard comes.
The responses were that they would harshly treat the tenants and lease the vineyard to another set of tenants. This gospel is full of meanings and implications but let us draw our attention to the tenants.
If God says So, Do This: Reflection on the Feast of Saint Patrick
Matthew 20:17-28: What Do You Want from God? Wed 2nd Week of Lent
Luke 6:36-38: Reasons We Have To Be Merciful. Monday 2nd Week of Lent
The Transfiguration Experience: A Foretaste of the Future Glory
Faith In God Alone May Not save You
When People Think You Can Never Succeed In Life
Reasons We have to be Merciful
The Significance of the Parable.
In today’s parable of Matthew 21:33-43,45-46, Jesus uses that parable to explain to the Jews and their chief priests how God has decided to choose them as His own and takes care of them. They now think they are the ones to determine what would happen and what would not happen.
In essence, Jesus uses the parable to tell the Pharisees that they are like tenants. They are only representing and working for God.
As tenants, they are only there to take care of souls, God has given to them. But they now forget this and see themselves as owners of the vineyard. They have taken their work as if it is personal property, piling heavy burdens on the people and giving their own interpretations of the law.
The Pharisees, chief priests and the Jews have paid deaf ears to the prophets sent to them and treated them as they like. In this same way, they would treat Jesus Christ.
They forgot that what they are now is only by God. Because of their hardened heart, God would take that honour and give it to others who are willing to listen to the message of salvation.
We are Tenants In The World.
1.Like the Jews in Matthew 21:33-43,45-46, we seem to forget that we are like tenants in this world. The Igbo man says uwa bu ahia, onye zuchaa, o laa( the world is like a marketplace where we come to buy things and go). Nobody owns the world. One day, the way we came is the way we shall go.
2. In the parable of Matthew 21:33-43,45-46, in the same way, the landowner has decorated and kept his vineyard is the way God has prepared everything for us.
He blessed man with the abundance of natural and human resources, but we have turned back against God and paid deaf ears against His word.
Now, many do not even believe that God exists. It looks as if we are now rebelling against God. We want to occupy. We want to possess and acquire everything. Hence we have forgotten that we are not the actual owner of the place we live. We are like the tenants in the parable. God only gives us the privilege to take care of his creation, but we think it is now our right to do whatever we like.
3. Our lives in the world are like a privilege and not a right. One day our time on earth will also elapse. The parable in Matthew 21:33-43,45-46 tells us that our time on earth is only by the grace of God, and there is also a time of reckoning. So whatever we do, wherever we are, and whatever God has given to us is by His grace and nothing but privileges. In the same manner, we must give an account of them.
4. Just like the tenants betrayed the landowner, we have also betrayed God with the way we live our lives. God blessed us, but we are repaying the Lord with evil and unfaithfulness. May God help us.
God bless you and give us the grace to understand that our time on earth is limited. May we remain close to Him. Amen.