Daily Meditation: "The stone which the build¬ers rejected has become the keystone"
Gospel text (Mt 21,33-43.45-46):
Jesus said to the chief priests and elders, "Listen to another example: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a fence around it, dug a hole for the winepress, built a watchtower, leased the vineyard to tenants and then went to a distant country. When harvest time came, the landowner sent his servants to the tenants to collect his share of the harvest. But the tenants seized his servants, beat one, killed another and stoned another. Again the owner sent more servants, but they were treated in the same way. Finally, he sent his son, thinking: ‘They will respect my son’. But when the tenants saw the son, they thought: ‘This is the one who is to inherit the vineyard. Let us kill him and his inheritance will be ours’. So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Now, what will the owner of the vineyard do with the tenants when he comes?".
They said to him, "He will bring those evil to an evil end, and lease the vineyard to others who will pay him in due time". And Jesus replied, "Have you never read what the Scriptures say?: ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the keystone. This was the Lord's doing; and we marvel at it’. Therefore I say to you: the kingdom of heaven will be taken from you and given to a people who will yield a harvest".
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard these parables, they realized that Jesus was referring to them. They would have arrested him, but they were afraid of the crowd who regarded him as a prophet.
"The stone which the build¬ers rejected has become the keystone"
Today, Jesus, with the parable of the homicidal tenants, speaks about the betrayal of trust; He compares the vineyard to the people of Israel and the wine growers to the chiefs of the chosen people. Them, and in them, all of Abraham's descendants, have been entrusted with the kingdom of God, but they have embezzled the heritage: "Therefore I say to you: the kingdom of heaven will be taken from you and given to a people who will yield a harvest" (Mt 21:43).
At the beginning of Matthew's Gospel, the Good News seems to be addressed only to the people of Israel. Already in the Old Covenant, the chosen people, had the mission of announcing and bringing salvation to all other nations. But Israel has been unfaithful to its mission. Jesus, the intermediate of the New Covenant, will gather around him the twelve Apostles, a symbol of the “new” Israel, called to yield a harvest of fruits of eternal life and to announce their salvation to all the other peoples.
This new Israel is the Church, all the baptized. We have received in the person of Jesus and in his message, a most unique gift we must make bear fruit. We cannot resign ourselves to an individualist and shortsighted experience of our faith; we must transmit it and give it to anyone who may come close. Hence, we can derive that the first fruit is to live our faith in the warmth of our family, that of the Christian community. That will be easy, "for where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Mt 18:20).
But ours is an open Christian community, that is, basically missionary (second fruit). Because of the strength and beauty of the Resurrected “in the midst of us”, the community is appealing in all its gestures and acts, and each one of its members has the capacity to beget men and women to the new life of the Resurrected. And a third fruit, is for us to live with the conviction and certitude that we can find in the Gospel the solution to all our problems.
Let's live in the saint Fear of God, lest the Kingdom of Heaven be taken from us and given to others.
Fr. Melcior QUEROL i Solà
(Ribes de Freser, Girona, Spain)
Audio: Friday 2nd of Lent