He has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may become partakers of the divine nature.
A reading from the second Letter of Saint Peter (2 Peter 1:2-7)
Beloved: May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature. For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm91: 1-2.14-15ab.15c-16 (R. see 2b)
R/. O my God, I trust in you.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High,
and abides in the shade of the Almighty,
says to the Lord, “My refuge,
my stronghold, my God in whom I trust!” R.
Since he clings to me in love, I will free him,
protect him, for he knows my name.
When he calls on me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in distress. R.
R/. O my God, I trust in you.
I will deliver him, and give him glory.
With length of days I will content him;
I will show him my saving power. R.
ALLELUIA Revelation 1 :5ac
Alleluia. Jesus Christ, you are the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead; you have loved us and washed away our sins in your blood. Alleluia.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark (Mark 12: 1-12)
“They took the beloved son, killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard.”
At that time: Jesus began to speak to the chief priests and the scribes and the elders in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a pit for the wine press, and built a tower, and leased it to tenants, and went into another country. When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. And they took him and beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent to them another servant, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully. And he sent another, and him they killed; and so with many others, some they beat and some they killed.” He had still one other, a beloved son; finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ And they took him and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard. “What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants, and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this Scripture: ‘The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes’?” And they tried to arrest him, but feared the multitude, for they perceived that he had told the parable against them; so they left him and went away.
The Gospel of the Lord.
The parable of the tenants of the vineyard is a direct attack on the attitude of the Jewish people who rejected and killed God’s Prophets and finally God’s own son. But it has its reference to all those who have failed to accept Christ as the Saviour. All created things belong to God and we are his tenants or stewards. Human as we are, we want to grab things for ourselves, opposing God’s ownership, and in the process we forfeit our original tenancy status. As a consequence, we also forfeit God’s generosity, trust and patience and so we are thrown out of the vineyard. God who has offered us the vineyard is persistent with us and he does not throw us out at our first or second rejection of him but when our hostility toward him grows to the extent of rejecting/killing his own Son, we lose our right to be his tenants. Let us always welcome Christ the Saviour, remain attached to him, and produce good fruit for the kingdom of God.