Today’s Gospel, Matthew 21:33-46, recounts Jesus’ parable of the landowner who sent slaves to collect produce from his vineyard. The tenants beat and killed the slaves. The landowner then sent his son to collect the produce, thinking the tenants would surely respect him. They killed him as well, with a plan to steal his inheritance. Jesus asks what the landowner will do to the tenants, and they responded, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death.” But what did the landowner do? He responded with “the fruits of the kingdom”…with compassion, and forgiveness.
Our world is filled with examples of violence and hatred. And we often feel a similar type of revenge against the wrong-doers. But as Pastor Beth reminds us, as ridiculous as it sounds, we are called to forgive. We are taught that instead of “an eye for an eye”, we are to love as we have been loved by God.
In essence, Jesus was asking those who were plotting his death what kind of fruits they were producing. Today’s sermon challenges us, similarly, to think about what kinds of fruits we are producing in our own vineyards…in our hearts, in our homes, in our communities.
Listen to today’s Gospel and sermon at the link below.