“The Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.”

Going back to Matthew (21:33-43, 45-46) for the gospel reading, we hear Jesus tell the parable of the wicked tenants to the chief priests, elders, and Pharisees.  This He does shortly after entering Jerusalem.  It is one of several parables He tells in short order indicting the religious leaders in that city.  In today’s parable, a landowner leases his vineyard to tenants.  When it’s time for the tenants to pay up, the master’s servants come back beaten or dead.  When he sends his son, they kill him as well.  Jesus then makes it clear that He is the Son of the Master by quoting Psalm 118 (22-23).  Indignant, especially after Jesus caps His message with the words at top, they wish to arrest Him but they feared the adoring crowds.  We should see here an indictment of our own time as well.  God is pushed more and more aside as He is forgotten, ignored, denied, and railed against, while His commands are openly and brazenly flouted.  It can be discouraging to see this in so many parts of the world and in particular in our own country which was founded on Judeo-Christian principles.  We must not give up or give in, though.  We must consider what we can do to raise the culture and the level of discourse.  As always, it starts at home on our knees.  Eliminating sin in our lives helps us to see more clearly the evil around us (cf. Mt 7:3) and allows us to be shining example to others that all is not lost and that the downward slide of morality is neither acceptable nor inevitable.

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