We work through Matthew Chapters 21 to 23, mindful of the growing hostility to Jesus and of the author’s intent to cheer his local community who were suffering because of their commitment to the following of Jesus.
One is inclined to agree with the scholars who suggests these words are to place the life, suffering and death of Jesus in line with the mistreatment of God’s messengers throughout the centuries!
Some events of the week are just too horrendous! But added to the mass killings and injuries of the days, arrives a little booklet “Catholic Missionaries in New Guinea in World War 2”. It reminded me that of nearly 500 Nuns, Brothers, Priests and Bishops working at the start of hostilities, 176 died at the hands of their captors and virtually all infrastructure had been destroyed.
Lest we forget…I had!
The parable today is principally directed to the leaders of Israel. It was their duty to protect nourish and care for the vineyard. Isaiah reminds us that “the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the House of Israel” and God expected it to yield grapes.
The leadership had failed. It had abandoned the values inherited, its networking was Romanised and ignored the poor. It failed to make a real difference to the lot of its people and, in so many ways, it was unapproachable; certainly not by “sinners and prostitutes and tax collectors”. In Isaiah’s words, the Master “expected justice but found bloodshed, integrity, but only a cry of distress.”
In the challenging circumstances of our times, in the redrawing of many social boundaries, it may be helpful to remember that we believers have been here before. Let us focus on the gift of the historical Jesus and the reality of the Christ of faith and continue to keep doing all the things we have learnt from him and his faithful followers. “Then the God of peace will be with you”.