At that time, Jesus spoke this parable to the multitude of the Jews and the chief priests, “There was a man, an householder, who planted a vineyard and made a hedge round about it and dug in it a press and built a tower and let it out to husbandmen and went into a strange country. And when the time of the fruits drew nigh, he sent his servants to the husbandmen that they might receive the fruits thereof. And the husbandmen laying hands on his servants, beat one and killed another and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the former; and they did to them in like manner. And last of all he sent to them his son, saying: ‘They will reverence my son.’ But the husbandmen seeing the son, said among themselves: ‘This is the heir: come, let us kill him, and we shall have his inheritance.’ And taking him, they cast him forth out of the vineyard and killed him.
“When therefore the lord of the vineyard shall come, what will he do to those husbandmen?” They say to him: “He will bring those evil men to an evil end and let out his vineyard to other husbandmen that shall render him the fruit in due season.” Jesus saith to them: “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? By the Lord this has been done; and it is wonderful in our eyes.’
“Therefore I say to you that the kingdom of God shall be taken from you and shall be given to a nation yielding the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it shall grind him to powder.”
And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they knew that he spoke of them. And seeking to lay hands on him, they feared the multitudes, because they held him as a prophet. Matthew 21:33-46
Today I confronted someone I knew was hiding the truth from me. Not because I was trying to be vicious, but because in order to help them, I needed them to remember that the relationship we have is based on trusting each other. This person got angry with me. I kept telling them that their reaction was just because they’d been caught in a lie, and to come back to the truth.
It is so hard to embrace the truth.
Someone close to me has told me several times that everyone lies to some degree or another. On the one hand I agree with this, but on the other hand, holding this view closes one’s mind to the potential of truth.
I believe in honesty. But I also know the repercussions of living in a lie.
In the parable, the people are living in a lie, that they are somehow entitled to the ownership of the vineyard. They believe that the owner somehow doesn’t care about them, that because of this they are justified in their actions, even in killing the owner’s son. What they fail to realized is that the owner actually loves them, suffers because of where they are, wants them to be better.
When therefore the lord of the vineyard shall come, what will he do to those husbandmen?
He will bring the evil men to an evil end and let out his vineyard to other husbandmen that shall render him the fruit in due season.
And while this parable may be speaking in ways that make us think of bonfires and brimstone, what it’s really talking about is something very simple: the natural consequences of our actions. We often act in ways that minimize the natural consequences, only to be surprised and angry when these consequences arrive. A smoker who’s smoked two packs a day for 25 years is confronted by their doctor who says they have lung cancer; they say to the doctor, how can this be? I don’t know how this could’ve happened!
They did know. They simply avoided the natural consequences. And now the landlord has come.
Our planet is heading for a two degree raise in temperature. It is, if we are to believe what science tells us, an inevitability. Yet, we keep driving our cars, buying trucks that we don’t need, living as if it was 1970. When the climate forces immigration even deeper into our country, when it fails crops in both the United States and Canada, and we exclaim: How could this happen? What did we do wrong? The landlord will come.
Live in honesty. Speak truth in the face of injustice, in the face of what you know to be untrue. Speak with courage, and fear.
And let that honesty be rooted in compassion and love, for others and for yourself.
God love you.