Our scripture this week is Matthew 21:33-46.

“Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.” Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.” When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.

Jesus isn’t finished teaching the religious leaders. He tells another parable that explains the coming of the prophets and also His presence in Israel. The priests and elders rightly see themselves in the lesson, but instead of humble repentance, they become angry.

It’s hard to hear that we are failing. Sometimes we are aware of our shortcomings, sometimes it is a shock to hear. Regardless of our knowing or not, our reaction should be to ask God’s forgiveness and accept the grace He gives us to change our hearts and minds.

If God didn’t love us, why would He bother to send the prophets to teach us the error of our ways, and Jesus to offer us reconciliation? When we see ourselves in the scripture lessons we are able to turn away from sin. God’s mercy is there for all when we admit our wrongdoing and earnestly follow Christ.

Loving Lord, thank You for the lessons You teach and the love You give to us. Help us to share Your truth and love with all the world. Amen.

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