More often than not our immediate response to difficulties or challenging people in our lives is to want to make them disappear! Rightly so, you may say.
We can take many meanings from today’s gospel reading. One of them is how to understand our difficulties, or challenging people in our lives, as experiences that can help us grow. Read on to find out how.
Every parable has many explanations and meanings. This doesn’t mean that these meanings contradict each other, but rather that through them God is trying to convey to us something new and different.
Another meaning we can gain from reading this parable is that the vineyard can be every single one of us. God puts a fence around us , and gives us the church to be protected. He has given us a place where we can enjoy the fresh wine, that being the Sacraments of the church which unite us with Christ. We have also been given the “tower”, or the intellect to be able to see God ,communicate with God and experience God.
However, what do we do when temptations ,difficulties or challenging people arise in our lives? We usually fall, or are inclined to want to reject them. The same way the Jews responded to the Prophets of the Old Testament- they sought to get rid of them.
The parable concludes by saying, “'The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner'". This stone is kept in the foundation of the building, and therefore it is not something which is visible and glorious. Rather, it carries all the weight.
This is the same with the difficulties and all the people that God brings in our lives. If our immediate response is to reject them, then we miss the chance of building on the experience that they give us, as opportunities for growth.
However, if we try to accept all the difficulties and challenges in a loving and understanding way, and embrace all people in our lives, even when they challenge us (be it our spouse, our children, our work colleagues) then they become the cornerstone and foundation of our soul. They are the ones that help carry the weight of our souls. Through this, they will put the right foundations inside us in order to be able to grow spiritually, and erect the building of our soul, and reach eternity and enter into the Kingdom of the Heavens.
The Lord said this parable, "There was a householder who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country. When the season of fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants, to get his fruit; and the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did the same to them. Afterward he sent his son to them, saying 'They will respect my son.' But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, 'This is the heir; come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.' And they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?" They said to him, "He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons." Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the scriptures: '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?'"
Source: Notes from sermon by His Grace Bishop Emilianos of Meloa, Cathedral of the Annunciation of Our Lady, 06/09/2020