By Fr. Andrew Kelly
The risen Jesus has gathered the community and tells a story (Matthew 21:33-43) about a vineyard that a landowner leased to tenants to produce grapes.
At harvest time the landowner sent servants to collect the grapes. All sorts of violence happen including the killing of the landowner’s son.
The community listens to the story in edgy silence as the story just may be asking questions about what has happened to the community since it embraced its mission in the Lord’s vineyard.
When people encounter the community, is the image of the kingdom of God the first thing that grabs the imagination? God forbid that it would be the predominating violence and chaos in the story Jesus tells.
The Lord is asking the community to account for how it has handled the work of the vineyard. What preoccupies community life? Is it kingdom work? Are Jesus’ justice, peace and compassion the priority of the community? Or are there other distractions?
The answer is important in what Jesus expects of the community: “Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom.”
Ignoring kingdom work could kill the community.
(Father Andrew Kelly is pastor of St. Mary Parish in Mechanicsville.)