Gospel Commentary for 27th Sunday in Ordinary TimeBy Father Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap
ROME, OCT. 3, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The immediate context of the parable of the murderous tenants of the vineyard is the relationship between God and the people of Israel. It is to Israel that God first sent the prophets and then his own Son.
But similar to all of Jesus’ parables, this story has a certain openness. In the relationship between God and Israel the history of God’s relationship with the whole of humanity is traced. Jesus takes up and continues God’s lament in Isaiah, which we heard in the first reading. It is there that we find the key to the parable and its tone. Why did God “plant a vineyard” and what are the "fruits" that are expected, which God will come to look for?
Here the parable does not correspond to reality. Human beings do not plant vineyards and dedicate themselves to its care for the love of the vines but for their own benefit. God is different. He creates man and enters into a covenant with him, not for his own benefit, but for man’s benefit, out of pure love. The fruits that are expected from man are love of God and justice toward the oppressed: all things that are for the good of man, not God.
This parable of Jesus is terribly relevant to our Europe, and in general to the Christian world. In this context, too, we must say that Jesus has been “cast out of the vineyard,” thrown out of a culture that proclaims itself post-Christian, or even anti-Christian. The words of the vineyard tenants resound, if not in the words at least in the deeds, of our secularized society: “Let us kill the heir and the inheritance will be ours!”