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Sunday 08 October 2017: Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

He leased his vineyard to other farmers

Violence on the heir of the vineyard.Seen from a human point of view, salvation history (the story of God’s dealings with humanity) is a tragedy; but the divine mercy and generosity has turned this tragedy into God’s triumph. This great drama comes to its climax, of course, in the life, death and resurrection of the Saviour: ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only Son’. The parable of Jesus in today’s reading from Matthew’s gospel refers to the tragedy that he now recognises to be inevitable. We have already become familiar with the original form of the parables of Jesus: a story that leaves his hearers confronted by an unsettling question. Today’s study of the formation of the gospels makes it clear that, as these parable stories were retold in the preaching of the early Church, they were often added to, to bring out lessons for later audiences. And it is evident that this parable – originally a challenge to leaders of the Jewish nation – has become, for those who have suffered persecution from the synagogue, a condemnation of the ‘chief priests and elders of the people’. The fact that Jesus foretells his death, but makes no reference to the resurrection that was so central to the faith of the first Christians, makes it clear that the parable is not a creation of the later Christian community, but is recalled as having been told by Jesus himself.

Extract by John Thornhill sm - read more at The Emmaus Series | Image composite of graphic from Hermanoleon Clipart and pixabay.com