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Monday – Ninth Week – OT2
Readings: 2 Pt 1:2-7; Mk 12:1-12
Reading 1 (2 Pt 1:2-7):
May grace and peace be yours in abundance
through knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
His divine power has bestowed on us
everything that makes for life and devotion,
through the knowledge of him
who called us by his own glory and power.
Through these, he has bestowed on us
the precious and very great promises,
so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature,
after escaping from the corruption that is in the world
because of evil desire.
For this very reason,
make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue,
virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control,
self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion,
devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love.
Gospel (Mk 12:1-12):
Jesus began to speak to the chief priests, the scribes,
and the elders in parables.
“A man planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it,
dug a wine press, and built a tower.
Then he leased it to tenant farmers and left on a journey.
At the proper time he sent a servant to the tenants
to obtain from them some of the produce of the vineyard.
But they seized him, beat him,
and sent him away empty-handed.
Again he sent them another servant.
And that one they beat over the head and treated shamefully.
He sent yet another whom they killed.
So, too, many others; some they beat, others they killed.
He had one other to send, a beloved son.
He sent him to them last of all, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’
But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’
So they seized him and killed him,
and threw him out of the vineyard.
What then will the owner of the vineyard do?
He will come, put the tenants to death,
and give the vineyard to others.
Have you not read this Scripture passage:
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes?”
They were seeking to arrest him, but they feared the crowd,
for they realized that he had addressed the parable to them.
So they left him and went away.
Written by: Fr. Anthony Dinh Minh Tien, O.P.
I. THEME: Let use God’s gifts to produce a profit for Him.
According to justice, if someone borrows something, he must return it. If he can’t pay pack both principal and interest, at least he must return the principal. Jesus’ parable of the owner who distributed his principal for his servants and returned later to judge them is an example of God’s justice (Mt 25:14-29). If one didn’t return the principal for the owner and still found a reason to blame him, he must suffer a persecution. The Boy Scout’s organization also teaches their scouts when using any land for camping: if they can make it cleaner, they must at least return as it is at the beginning condition.
Today readings emphasize the duty to properly use God’s gifts to benefit for ourselves and others. In the first reading, the author reminded the faithful to use all God’s gifts, given through Christ, to reach their perfect status and to help others. In the Gospel, Jesus cited the parable of the vineyard and the tenants. His purpose is to remind the Jews of God’s mercy and justice. They couldn’t continue to receive God’s gifts without producing a profit for Him, or even worse, they produce sour grape.
1/ Reading I: His divine power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and power.
1.1/ God bestowed on the faithful these following gifts:
(1) Christ: The most precious gift we received from God is Christ because it includes all other gifts. By him, we become righteous and inherit salvation.
(2) Our faith in Christ: Even our faith in Christ is also God’s gift because God sent His Holy Spirit to work in us. Without God’s help, no one can profess his faith in Christ (Jn 6:44).
(3) All graces which help us to live a holy life: When the faithful is baptized, God equips him with all necessary grace to live a holy life, worthy of God’s children.
(4) To share in divine life: When the faithful receives the Holy Spirit, he shares in God’s life. When the faithful is nourished by the Eucharist, he also shares in divine life.
(5) The forgiveness of sins and its results: Jesus accepted death to redeem people’s sins; therefore, people are no longer slaves for sins. Of course, people can still sin because of the weakness of their flesh; but they can receive the forgiveness for their sins through the sacrament of Reconciliation.
1.2/ The faithful need to acquire these virtues: With the presence of the Holy Spirit in their life, he can help the faithful to sanctify their life by training for virtues so that they can be more holy everyday. The author only listed some virtues as follows:
(1) Piety: This virtue is needed for the faithful to live their intimate relationship with the Most Holy Trinity in all moments of their life.
(2) Understanding: All truth are revealed by Christ and enlightened by the Holy Spirit. In the author’s wish at the beginning of the Letter (v. 2), the author said that the more people have knowledge about Christ, the more peaceful they shall feel.
(3) Temperance: This is the virtue that helps the faithful to moderately use material things, such as: food, drink or pleasure.
(4) Patience: People need to be patient with themselves and others in their progress of acquiring virtues.
(5) Charity: This is the mother of all virtues; all other virtues must be based on this theological virtue.
2/ Gospel: The owner shall destroy the wicked tenants and lend the vineyard to others.
2.1/ Two parables of the vineyard:
(1) The vineyard of the Old Testament according to Isaiah 5:1-7: This parable is familiar to all the Jews. When Jesus gave his parable, he used the old parable which all were familiar with and added some details to adapt with his and the audience’s circumstances. In the parable of the prophet Isaiah, the Lord was angry when He came to harvest the grape, He found only wild and sour grape. Isaiah explained the meaning of the parable as follows: “The vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his cherished plant; He looked for judgment, but see, bloodshed! For justice, but hark, the outcry!” (Isa 5:7).
(2) The vineyard of the New Testament according to St. Mark in today passage: The owner was angry because the tenants didn’t return some of the produce of the vineyard, they also caused many more damages for him. We can explain the meaning of the parable as follows:
+ The owner of the vineyard is God;
+ The vineyard is Israel;
+ The owner’s servants who were persecuted and killed are God’s prophets through all generations;
+ The owner’s son is Christ;
+ The wicked tenants are the bad leaders of the Israelites.
2.2/ The reactions of the wicked tenants and the owner of the vineyard:
(1) The wicked tenants: Five times the owner sent his members to ask for a profit, five times they treated the owner’s members worse and graver. The first time, they seized him, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. The second time, they beat over the head and treated shamefully. The third time, they killed the servant. The fourth time, some they beat, others they killed. Last time, “the owner had one other to send, his beloved son. He sent him to them last of all, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they seized him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.”
(2) The owner of the vineyard: Jesus put out a question to his audience: “What then will the owner of the vineyard do?” Almost everyone can immediately answer, “He will come, put the tenants to death, and give the vineyard to others.” Even the Jewish leaders also understood Jesus’ intention: he said this parable to imply them as the wicked tenants. Understand so, they still wanted to seize Jesus, but were afraid of people. If the plain people could judge the wicked tenants as such, God shall not forgive those who killed His son and didn’t repent. He shall not only destroys them but also use “the stone that the builders rejected” which is Christ, as the cornerstone to build up the new temple which is the Church.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– We should use all God’s gift to develop our life to perfection and to help others. The more we know how to use them, the more gifts God shall bestow on us, and the reverse is also true.
– God is merciful but also just. We shouldn’t only pay attention to God’s mercy and do what we want. We shall have to pay a hefty price for all of our irresponsible tasks.