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Faith Daily | 10 March 2023

PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p484

Remember, O Lord,

what you have wrought in us

and not what we deserve,

and, as you have called us to your service,

make us worthy of our calling;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.


GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 21: 33-43; 45-46

33“Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. 34When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. 35But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. 37Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.” 39So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.” 42Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes’? 43Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. 45When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. 46They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.


I was arrested by the Scripture Jesus quotes at the end of his parable, ‘The stone the builders rejected…’ It reminded me of Glenda Jackson in the documentary Elizabeth R. in the 1970s. When she hears she will be made Queen she quotes that exact scripture!! A wonderful example of Tudor hubris? Or does the scriptwriter want to suggest that she means to follow Jesus in faith as she builds the edifice of her reign? We can’t know, but it made great drama!

We do know that her early determination to reduce bloodshed between her Catholic and Protestant subjects was partly expressed by her influence in instituting the 1552 Prayer Book (in English) giving impetus to a return to inclusive worship. An example of using power for good leadership, perhaps.

Which the ‘wicked tenants’ in today’s scripture certainly could not be accused of!

This parable, an allegory, has a metaphor that would ring bells for all Jesus’ Jewish listeners - the vineyard. In Isaiah 5:1-7, the vineyard yielded not grapes, but wild grapes. That story is not so violent as Jesus’ parable, but the message seems to be the same - not justice and righteousness, but bloodshed. There seems to be general agreement from scholars that in this Matthew allegory the vineyard is Jerusalem, these wicked tenants are the Priests and Pharisees, the various unenviable ‘slaves’ are the Old Testament prophets, like fiery Amos and Hosea, and poor old Jeremiah down his well, and Daniel in the lion’s den and others who prophesied the Messiah, like Isaiah. And of course the son is Jesus.

In this parable in Matthew, the tenants seem to have tended the vineyard effectively, as the landowner (God) sends confidently to them for his produce. But the tenants seem to be operating on the principal ‘possession is 9/10ths of the law’. Or should that be ‘Power …’

Is Jesus saying yes, you have kept the Law, and taught the tradition, but you do not own the people or the Faith - they belong to God? Are the ordinary people hearing this parable meant to hear not a call to arms, but an encouragement that the Kingdom of God belongs to them, too, and under more benign leaders it will be ruled not by overweening power, but by love, to produce the fruits of justice and righteousness ? In any case, the leaders heard very clearly that their game was up, and could only refrain from taking vengeance on Jesus because the crowd ‘regarded him as a prophet’. An example of people-power in action!

But what of us? We all know the recent examples of church leaders using their positions of power to protect the institution of the church instead of people who needed protecting. God’s church obviously has an ongoing need for ‘a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom’. We do have mechanisms in our church to allow us ordinary people to point to failures in leadership and systems. So we must stay on guard and keeping Jesus as the cornerstone of our faith, insist on our leaders making him also the sure foundation of the Kingdom of God in our day.


God our Creator,

when you speak there is light and life.

Fill us with your Holy Spirit

so that we may listen to one another,

speak the truth in love,

and bear much fruit in the service of your kingdom;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Master speak ,thy servant hearth. Waiting for thy gracious word,

Longing for the voice that cheered.Master let it now be heard.

I am listening Lord for thee,what hast thou to say to me.


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