Whoever has children has surely heard the words: “That’s mine! That’s mine”, and was most probably called up to act as judge and give a verdict! However, this may not be just a children’s attitude. Today’s parable warns about attachment and ownership. Have we ever, embraced an attitude of self-sufficiency, saying ‘this is my life, I make my own decisions?’
Our life is a gift from God and at the end we have to answer for the decisions made. As Christians, our decisions are to be made in the light of the Word of God. The tenants believed that since they had worked the fields, they had a right to the produce. They no longer recognised the person who had hired them as the rightful owner. Yet the landowner was merciful. He sent a number of people at different times to try and make them realise their mistake. Nevertheless, they had become selfish, and they beat and killed the servants sent. They also killed the landowner’s son.
God is like the landowner. He gave us our life as a gift. He gave us all the creation as a gift, he even gifted us with a family. He made us overseers of all creation. He did not leave us alone. In the parable, Jesus says that the landowner sent his servants and his son as eye-openers. God sends others to help us too. He gives us help to become better persons. We have the Bible, priests, spiritual directors and catechists to show us the way, they are there to help us. Other ways are also available to us, and these also help us to evaluate if we are living according to God’s will. Are we accepting the help given to us or are we behaving like the tenants, reasoning that life is ours and that we can decide how we want it to be without any reference to God?
The cornerstone is mentioned in today’s gospel. The cornerstone plays an important part in construction. It is not an embellishment! It is part of the foundation and if removed, the building will collapse. Jesus likens himself to this cornerstone. We should keep Jesus as the foundation on which we build our lives. Jesus is a ‘sure foundation’ (Isaiah 28, 16).