Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46 Reflection: Parable of the Tenants

A reading from the gospel according to Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46:

33 Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: “Hear another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey.
34 When vintage time drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce.
35 But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat, another they killed, and a third they stoned.
36 Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones, but they treated them in the same way.
37 Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’
38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’
39 They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
40 What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?”
41 They answered him, “He will put those wretched men to a wretched death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper times.”
42 Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures:
The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes?
43 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.”
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they knew that he was speaking about them.
46 And although they were attempting to arrest him, they feared the crowds, for they regarded him as a prophet.

Reflection: Rejection

The tenants in the gospel reading above refer to the religious leaders such as the scribes and the Pharisees in ancient Israel who were tasked to take care of the people of God. Yet they did not live up to what was expected of them. On the other hand, the servants refer to the prophets whom they rejected and even murdered. Of course, Jesus was the Son of God whom they also rejected and later crucified.

Jesus did not just dislike but chastised the scribes and Pharisees from time to time. For their part, they criticized Jesus’ radical way of life. They looked for every minute mistake in order to attack Him and when they had enough, they plotted to kill Him. That is who they were. When they were confronted with the truth about them, they responded by eliminating the messengers of the truth.

This parable of the tenants teaches us that being a messenger of the truth is not easy. Many people are uncomfortable with it. That is why history is filled with stories of prophets and missionaries who were martyred for their work as messengers of the truth about God and His son Jesus. Yet Jesus Himself as the stone rejection by the builders has become the cornerstone of the Kingdom of God project and this project is still being constructed.

Like Jesus and the prophets before Him and the apostles after Him, let us have enough courage to continue building the Kingdom of God. We may be criticized, opposed and even murdered but let us keep on working in order for the vineyard to keep producing fruits for the glory of God.

Gospel Reading and Reflection
Gospel Reading and Reflection


  1. Amen! I Love 💕💕This! As a Landlord, I cannot fathom that my tenant’s would kill my son in order to prevent him from receiving that which is due him. I’m with Jesus- I also dislike those wicked Scribes and Pharisees!!

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