Genesis 37:3-4,12-13,17-28; Matthew 21:33-43,45-46
There was a man, a landowner, who planted a vineyard; he fenced it round, dug a winepress in it and built a tower; then he leased it to tenants and went abroad.
From the children of the same family to nations in the world, all are at war with each other for land and the resources of creation. The fight has shifted to the seas, to the icebergs of Antarctica, for the outer space and for the planets! Everyone claims these as his own, to the exclusion of others.
Who is the real owner of the land? According to the Bible, it is God himself, its creator. The first line of the parable of Jesus reiterates this basic truth. There was a man, a landowner, who planted a vineyard; he fenced it round, dug a winepress in it and built a tower; then he leased it to tenants and went abroad… he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his produce. Every word here is meaningful. This is not merely a parable of a fight between Jesus and the Jews. It is a parable on the Economic Order of the world of today!
The landowner: ‘Land’ is the symbol of all creation. No one but God can be its owner.
The vineyard: He made the land prosper, gave it fertility, powers, productivity.
The fence, the winepress and the tower: God made his creation secure by fantastic laws of nature and put them all at the service of man’s easy use.
He leased it to tenants: He gave it to human beings. Those who claim ownership today are no more than tenants, accountable to him.
And went abroad: He has ‘gone abroad’, apparently missing from the scene, and this has emboldened the tenants to usurp his property. All that the land produces do not belong to the tenants. God’s share must be returned to his family, which is the whole of humanity. This calls for a just distribution of the wealth of this world and not its hoarding by a few! Jesus is calling for a world order that is more just and distributive! Fantastic parable from the Lord!