“The kingdom of heaven can be compared to the story of a landowner who went out early one morning to find people to work in his vineyard. After agreeing with them about the wage for the day, he sent them off to work. A few hours later he saw more men standing idle in the marketplace. He told them to go to his vineyard as well and he would pay them a fair wage. Around noon and again at 3 PM he hired more men. Around 5 o’clock he saw yet more people and asked them ‘Why are you standing around here doing nothing?’ ‘Because no one has hired us’, they said. ‘Go to my vineyard’, he told them, ‘and you will get a fair wage.’
When the work was over for the day, the owner told the foreman, “Call the workers in and pay them, starting with the last who were hired and ending with the first.” When the ones who were hired around 5 o’clock came, they were each paid a full day’s wage. When the first who were hired came, they were sure that they would get more, but they received the same amount as those who were hired last. The complained, saying ‘The guys you hired last only worked for one hour, and you gave them the same amount as us, who worked all day in the burning heat!’
‘Friend,’ he replied to one of them, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong to you! Didn’t you agree to work all day for this wage? Take it and leave. I want to give the last people who were hired the same as I give the first. Don’t I have the right to run my business the way I want? Are you upset because I am kind?’
In the same way, the last will be first and the first will be last.”
Jesus began to teach them again using parables.
“There once was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a fence around it and included a winepress and a watchtower. He leased it to tenant farmers and then he went away for a very long time. When it was harvest time, he sent his servant to the farmers so that he could collect some fruit from them. Instead of giving him fruit, the farmers beat the servant and sent him away with nothing. The landowner sent another servant and they treated him just as badly. Then the landowner sent a third servant and the farmers killed him. He sent other servants, and they were all either beaten or killed.
Finally he decided to send his much loved son thinking ‘Surely they will respect him.’ But the tenant farmers talked amongst themselves and decided that since this was the heir they should kill him and collect the inheritance for themselves. They did just that and then threw him out of the vineyard.
Because of their shameful behavior, the owner of the vineyard went there himself to destroy the farmers and let other people manage his land and crops.”
Jesus asked the religious leaders if they had ever heard the verse from Scriptures that says ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. The Lord has done this and it is wonderful to see!’
“Therefore it follows that the kingdom of God will be taken away from the original tenants and given to those who are good stewards and can produce healthy fruit. All who stumble on this rock shall be broken, and all those who this rock falls on will be ground to dust!”
The chief priests and scribes started to look for a way to arrest him because they knew he was speaking these words against them. However, they were afraid of the crowds because they regarded him as a prophet, so they left him alone for the time being.
MT 21:33-46, MK 12:1-12, LK 20:9-19