Jesus warns men of the terrible destruction that comes to those who oppose God in the Parable of the Wicked Tenants. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Gratitude so he can thank God for allowing him to be a Catholic man and by building the Virtue of Charity so he can receive the Grace from Jesus Christ to be fruitful in love. 

Liturgy

2nd Week of Lent – Friday – Mt 21:33-43; 45-46

Commentary

Entering Jerusalem for Passion Week, Jesus clashes with the Jewish leadership about His authority after He clears the Temple. Jesus rebukes and calls the Jewish leaders to repentance with several parables including the Parable of the Wicked Tenants.

In veiled terms, the parable reveals that God has given men a fruitful earth and sent prophets and ultimately His Beloved Son, to call men to live holy lives. God the Father (a householder) has given men (tenants) a beautiful Creation (a vineyard with hedge and winepress). God the Father, who is unseen (goes to another country), sends His prophets (servants) to call men to live holy lives (produce fruit). Wicked men (Jewish leadership) abuse (beat, kill, stone) God’s prophets (servants). God the Father (the householder) sends His Son Jesus (the son), but wicked men (Jewish leadership) kill Jesus (the son), seeking to rule the world (get the inheritance). Amazingly, when Jesus questions the Jewish leadership about what God (householder) should do to those who disobey Him (servants who kill the son), they incriminate and condemn themselves (wretches) to death.

Jesus quotes the 1000-year-old scripture of the “cornerstone” (Ps 118:22-23) which cryptically refers to His Resurrection and the building of the Catholic Church. After speaking in the veiled terms of the parable, Jesus explicitly condemns the Jewish leadership for their lack of holiness (fruits) and reveals God will withhold His blessings from Israel, and give His blessings to others (fruitful nations); ominously, Jesus warns of destruction (broken to pieces, crush) to those who reject Him (v 44 is omitted from the Liturgy). The Jewish leaders finally realize Jesus is condemning them but fail to act because they are fearful of the backlash from the enthusiastic crowds that are awed by Jesus.

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Marvel by how Jesus, the Divine Prophet, uses this parable: He constructs the parable with Divine Prudence to Warn and condemn corrupt priests, speaking indirectly in veiled terms so to avoid premature capture; He so masterfully uses Pathos (a form of Reason that speaks to the heart) that the unwitting evil priests are moved to condemn the unjust characters in the parable, condemning themselves; Divine Justice, Jesus confirms the requirement of producing spiritual fruit, the condemnation of the corrupt priests, and He Harshly Warns those who rebel against Him with brutal destruction (v. 44).

Thank God that you are a Catholic man

Realize: Jesus’ accurate prediction that God will build the Catholic Church upon the Son of God as the cornerstone, appeared to be an insane claim by an obscure carpenter, but has been spectacularly fulfilled with His worldwide Holy Catholic Church which continues to endure two millennia later. 

Believe: Reflect upon the Creed’s profession, I believe in the Holy Catholic Church (CCC 748-810).

Pray: Almighty Father, help me build the Virtue of Gratitude (a part of Justice) so I am always grateful that You have allowed me the highest honor, to be a Catholic man of Your Holy Catholic Church.

Receive the Grace of Christ to be fruitful in love

Realize: Due to decades of abysmal catechesis and the failure to preach the fullness of the truth, millions of Catholic men don’t understand the tough truth that Jesus commands every Catholic man to be fruitful and will hold him accountable for his fruitfulness in the Judgment. 

Believe: Reflect upon Grace and Justification (CCC 1987-2029).

Pray: Jesus, Perfection of Love, help me build the Virtue of Charity so I gratefully receive Your Grace and grow in overflowing and fruitful love which blesses others and draws many to You and Your Holy Catholic Church.