Faith Daily | 31 May 2021
PRAYER of the DAY - PENTECOST APBA p547
Almighty and everliving God,
increase in us your gift of faith,
so that, forsaking what lies behind
and reaching out to that which is before us,
we may run the way of your commandents
and win the crown of everlasting joy;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Mark 12: 1-12
Then he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a pit for the wine press, and built a watchtower; then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. 2When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants to collect from them his share of the produce of the vineyard. 3But they seized him, and beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. 4And again he sent another slave to them; this one they beat over the head and insulted. 5Then he sent another, and that one they killed. And so it was with many others; some they beat, and others they killed. 6He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. 9What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10Have you not read this scripture:
‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; 11this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes’?”
12When they realized that he had told this parable against them, they wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowd. So they left him and went away.
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by: Rachel McFadyen
Jesus is in Jerusalem, in the week between his triumphant entry into the city and his death by crucifixion. He is preaching each day in the temple, and the religious leaders are trying to trap him into words they can use to condemn him legally.
The Jerusalem “establishment” clearly understands that this story is aimed at them: the metaphor of God’s people Israel and the land of Israel as a vineyard is used in Isaiah 5:1-, the Song of Songs, and other scriptures. They know the prophets in earlier times - Elijah, Jeremiah, and others – were not listened to by the established authorities, and were beaten, thrown into wells, variously mis-treated.
Then Jesus finishes with a quote from Psalm 118, vs 22-23, “this is the Lord’s doing”, a passage which goes on “this is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” No surprise that the leaders understood this was a direct attack on their authority, which they claimed came from God. Their tragedy was that their response was not to listen to Jesus and change course, but to seek to kill him as soon as was safe.
Unfortunately entrenched authorities today too often take the same path, when prophetic voices tell them to acknowledge that their current approach is leading to disaster, and that it is time to change course. As was true of the Jerusalem establishment, adopting a different path means acknowledging their errors and admitting outsiders into the “corridors of power”. They fear loss of prestige and power, and it is easier to belittle and silence the prophetic voices. Continuing with the same thing while hoping for a different outcome didn’t work for the Jewish leaders, and it won’t work for us now.
FINAL PRAYER: (APBA prayer in times of conflict, modified)
God our refuge and strength,
you have bound us together in a common life:
help us to confront one another without hatred or bitterness
to listen for your voice amid competing claims
and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.