Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers

Reading the Gospel of Matthew, the reader comes across a very interesting and parable, one that I have heard since I was a child. This parable always made a great impression on me. The Parable is as follows:
Matthew: 21: 33-45.
‘33 “Hear another parable: There was a certain landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. 34 Now when vintage-time drew near, he sent his servants to the vinedressers, that they might receive its fruit. 35 And the vinedressers took his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and they did likewise to them. 37 Then last of all he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38 But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’ 39 So they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him.
40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?”
41 They said to Him, “He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.”
42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
‘The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
This was the Lord’s doing,
And it is marvelous in our eyes’?[j]
43 “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. 44 And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.”
45 Now when the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them. 46 But when they sought to lay hands on Him, they feared the multitudes, because they took Him for a prophet.’

The garden here symbolises paradise, and in our current existence, it symbolises our world, where creation exists, and the place we consider home, for now. The vineyard and the vines are a popular theme in both the Old and the New Testaments, mainly due to the Mediterranean location of the events. The significance of the vineyards and the wine is also evident in the Last Supper, and therefore present during every Divine Liturgy.
This parable points out the fact that God sent His Son to earth. Mankind’s reply to this gesture was to arrest Him, torture Him, laugh at Him and eventually kill Him. God, however, had sent prophets (just as the servants were sent in this parable) before Jesus Christ. They were not heard by everyone. Therefore, it was time for the Son of God to come and achieve mankind’s salvation.
The Pharisees, upon hearing this parable, believed that Jesus was referring to them. If we are to truly comprehend this parable, we should understand that this parable is actually speaking to us, about us. We live in this vineyard, we are currently taking care of it, we are the vinedressers and most importantly we are the ones who killed the Son of God. Jesus was, therefore, talking not to the Pharisees alone, but to mankind. We should see this and try to comprehend on whose side we wish to be; do we wish to do what is right or wrong? Who do we wish to follow?

Thus, this parable depicts the significance these parables have for our lives and our understanding of our faith. Stories like these maintain a theological importance for us and our lives within the Church, in the communion of the Saints, in a relationship whereby we are in communion with God. 

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