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(Part 41)


March 2, 2018
Today’s gospel: Matthew 21:33-46

God’s people are destined for greatness, and the Church Jesus established are destined to do great things for God.

God is the “landowner who planted a vineyard” (v.33b), which is His Church. God did everything so that His Church would be fruitful, as He “put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower.” (v.33c). Jesus has entrusted the Church to his disciples, to all of us, as he went back to heaven after his earthly mission. “Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey.” (v.33d).

Jesus will return in the fullness of time, and will look to the fruit of the labors of his Church. “When vintage time drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce.” (v.34). The produce are the good works expected by God. The ultimate fruit would be the souls that are saved. As God wants all men to be saved, Jesus looks to a bountiful harvest.

But how is the situation right now?

  • God’s people have rejected the priests, servant leaders and prophets sent by Him. “But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat, another they killed, and a third they stoned.” (v.35). God’s people have charted their own course in life. They do not listen to the word of God that is preached. They do not follow the way of life that pastors impart to them. Worse, many pastors themselves have veered away from authentic Church teachings and practices.
  • God’s people have rejected even Jesus himself. “They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.” (v.39). Many Catholics have left the Church. There is widespread apostasy in the Church. Many have rejected Jesus who is the Way by violating the commands of God. Many have rejected Jesus who is the Truth by turning away for the authentic gospel of salvation. Many have rejected Jesus who is the Life by embracing the culture of death. Worse, there are those prelates and clerics who have become modernist, who are trying to remake the Church into their own humanist image and likeness. They are those who in effect are saying, “This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.” (v.38b).

Rather than salvation, many among God’s people face condemnation. “He will put those wretched men to a wretched death” (v.41a). But until Jesus returns again, there is time to get back to do what God wants His people to do. This is why our Church has been called to the New Evangelization. And God will raise new leaders, workers and groups that will do His work. He will “lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper times.” (v.41b).

Who then are we? Are we among the old tenants or the new ones? Are we serving Christ or rejecting and replacing him? If we are not whom God intends us to be, then we are of no use to Him. Then He will cast us off. Then He will look for still others who can produce the fruit. “Therefore, I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.” (v.43).

God destines His people for greatness, as the Church reflects the glory of God and produces glorious fruit in the lives of people. Will we be counted among them?

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