Friday of the 2nd Week of Lent

Matt 21:33-43, 45-46

The Parable of the Tenants


In interpreting the parables of Jesus we should normally look for the main point of the story and not worry too much about the details. But there are exceptions and our parable for today is one of them. Here the details do have a meaning and the Pharisees were well aware that Jesus was speaking about them. The vineyard is the nation of Israel, the tenants are the religious leaders and the servants are the prophets sent to remind them to return to God’s way. Of course the son is Jesus Himself. He is the cornerstone on which God’s Kingdom will stand.

It is important for us to remember too that this parable is not a mere history lesson about what happened to the Jews a long time ago. It is also a proclamation for the Christians of our present time. For example, we often like to speak of the Philippines being “the only Christian country in Asia.” But how true is that if we look at the practice of Christianity around us? Of course we have a lot of rituals: Masses, sacraments, novenas, all sorts of popular devotions, etc. but we have to ask how Christians are the values we live by. Actually, I’m convinced that we have many deeply Christian people in our midst but, like the prophets sent by God, they are often ignored or resented, considered impractical or out of date. Jesus is also very much in our midst but the question is do we always see Him or welcome Him? His presence in the Eucharist will only bring us life to the extent that we also recognize Him in the poor and rejected of our society. If the Kingdom of God is truly with us then there must be a rich harvest of love and compassion to all God’s children. (Fr. John O’Mahony, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


This carefully crafted parable fits the facts of biblical history. In Jesus’ time, absentee landlords were common. They rented their land to tenants who repaid them in crops rather than in cash. When harvest time came, the landlord sent his servants to the tenants to collect his share of the crops. Frequently, tension, hostility and even fights run high between tenants and the absentee landlords.

The vineyard in the parable stands for the people of Israel. The vineyard owner stands for God. The tenants are the leaders of Israel. The servants are the prophets. The owner’s son is Jesus. The new tenants are the apostles of Jesus.

Who are the successors of the apostles today? Our pope, bishops and our priests: do we accept and support them, yes, do we pray for them and above all, do we follow them as such?

Lord, help us to keep our hearts and minds open to your apostles, your representatives. For you said, “Truly I say to you, whoever welcomes the one I send, welcomes me and whoever welcomes me, welcomes the one who sent me,” (John 13: 20).

In other words, our Lord is telling us: “He who listens to you whom I send, listens to me and he who listens to me, listens to the one who sent me.” Fr. Fred Mislang, SVD Bible Diary 2005)


The Genesis account in the first reading today regarding Joseph’s brothers and their eventual sale of him is a well-planned crime. It occurred among brothers who shared the same blood of a father-Jacob. It was caused by jealousy and injustice, that is, favouritism in the family.

In the gospel reading, Jesus recounts by way of a parable the Jewish rejection of the prophets who came and ministered before him. Jesus reminds His listeners that He, too, is about to face exactly the same fate.

The scriptural texts make us wonder how such cruelties can happen to Joseph who loved his brothers and to the prophets and Jesus who unconditionally loved the Israelites their brothers.

Similar cruelties also take place in our families. How often do we face conflicts and suffer from the practices of injustice in our families? How often do we hold enmities toward our brothers and sisters until we can’t fraternally talk with them as we used to, because of the problems over farmlands, for instance or money inherited from parents or grandparents?

This holy season of Lent Jesus calls us to repent and make an effort to reconcile with our brothers and sisters and love one another again as Jesus has taught us. (Fr. Alexander Jebadu, SVD Bible Diary 2007)


So much has been said about the Philippines being the only Christian nation in Asia. Yet the benefits of having most of the people as Christians are hardly felt in our country. The ‘fruits’ of Christianity are definitely not crime, poverty, corruption and other harsh realities that we see very day in our society. But there are some who say that were it not for Christianity, the situation in our country would have been worse. Our religious beliefs had somehow checked a bit what would have been veritable floodgates of morality and criminality.

It is also encouraging to see lay people who have taken steps to “produce fruit.” Our good examples are the members of the Couples for Christ, who have committed themselves with the awesome task of confronting poverty through their Gawad Kalinga program. There are also countless anonymous Christians who, in their own little ways, strive to make life bearable for their less fortunate countrymen. They continue to be faithful to God’s word and “bear fruits,” away from the glare of publicity. These Christians are largely unnoticed and unknown to the public. But the direct recipients of their good deeds know these Christians by heart.

We can “bear fruit” in the little good things we do for each other; such as when we give encouraging words to a lonely and desperate soul or an affirmative pat on the back of a person of low self-esteem. As Mother Teresa said, “we may not be able to do great things but we do little things with love….” (Fr. Gil Alejandria, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


February 26, 2016 Friday

Human nature has changed very little over the decades, as Laurin J. Weng observed. We see that clearly in these familiar Lenten readings. Joseph’s brothers are envious of him because his father, Jacob, shows favoritism for him, one of many sons. This alone foretells trouble. Joseph is either a show off or con dent enough to tell his older brothers about his dreams in which they end up showing deference to a younger brother. In the world they lived in, this just wasn’t done!

The gospel tells a similar tale. Jesus must have been in an aggressive mood that day, he surely knew that his parable would provoke, not entertain, his lofty audience. The chief priests and elders knew well that the image of the vineyard came from Isaiah (5:1-7), who had used this image to describe the way God carefully cultivated a favored vine, his people Israel. Isaiah’s prophecy was a scolding for the people of Israel; Jesus’ parable was a scolding for the people of his own day. In neither case did the people react favorably.

Both Joseph and Jesus were the victims of other people’s greed and envy. Lent reminds us that we are always faced with the choice to join the crowds who pushed Jesus aside in order to continue with the pursuit of personal gain and fulfillment, or to choose to take Jesus most seriously and to give of our time, talent, and treasure in pursuit of God’s kingdom. God began this good work in us, planting the seed of faith. Our forty days of Lent give us time to cultivate the seed and to grow in our own understanding of faith so we will be among those who yield a rich harvest. Do we for our part produce the fruits of the kingdom of God – love, joy, peace, understanding patience, kindness, gentleness, fidelity and self-control – as expected of us by Jesus? (Fr. Renato Yadao, SVD Papua New Guinea Bible Diary 2016)


My Reflection for Friday March 21, Second Week of Lent, Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46

Reflection: One of the gifts that Jesus gave us is our Catholic faith, Jesus gave this to us through our baptism. Does this gift of faith end with our baptism? No, Jesus is also expecting us to share this gift of our baptism by living and sharing our faith.

We read in our gospel this Friday that there was a landowner who leased his vineyard to some tenants. After a period of time the landowner was now demanding his share of their produce. But they did not gave him his share, the tenants were ruled by greed that they kept to themselves the fruits of the vineyard.

The same is true with the gift of faith that Jesus gave us, Jesus expects us to share the fruits of our faith. Let us not be content with status quo let us move and do something so that we could share our faith for this is what Jesus demands from us.

For example, why don’t we share our faith we the members of our family by inviting them to go to Holy Mass. Why don’t we share our faith with them by having a regular time for family reflection about the words of Jesus in the bible?

What have you done so far with this gift of faith that Jesus gave you through the Sacrament of Baptism? Have you shared it already most especially with the members of your family? (Marino J. Dasmarinas)


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Reflection for February 26, Friday of the Second Week of Lent; Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46

Reflection: Do you see greed in the gospel?  Yes there is greed, the greed of the tenants. They did not give the rightful share of the landowner they instead kept to themselves what was supposed to be the landowner’s share. Was Jesus happy with the greed of the tenants? Of course not! Did the tenants’ greed cause their self-destruction? Yes absolutely!

Our greed will not bring us any good, it will only destroy us; the more that we are greedy the more that we hasten our self-destruction. The more that we are greedy the more that we alienate ourselves from the love of God.

So, what is the cure for our greed? The cure is generosity! If we are always generous we will not run out of things to give. We also free ourselves from the curse of greed which has destroyed so many already.  What is with material things that we are so greedy of it? Can it bring us closer to Jesus?

If the tenants in our gospel generously gave what was for the landowner. They could have continued their tenants and landowner relationship. They could have experienced prosperity, peace and they could have avoided destruction.

The lesson for us therefore is we must not be greedy we instead should always be generous. – Marino J. Dasmarinas


Friday of the 2nd Week of Lent (Year C)

Mateo 21:33-43, 45-46. Kinsa man ang manununod sa Gingharian sa Langit? Giingnan ni Jesus ang mga kadagkoan sa mga pari ug sa mga Pariseo: “Sultihan ko kamo nga ang Gingharian sa Dios kuhaon gikan kaninyo ug ihatag ngadto sa mga tawo nga makahatag og maayong mga bunga.” Para kang Cristo mas mahinungdanon ang binuhatan sa tawo kaysa iyang titulo. Sa atong pagsunod kaniya, kinahanglan nga mamunga kita’g mga maayong buhat diha sa katilingban nga atong gipuy-an. Dili igo nga kita tawgon og Kristiyano. Anaa kanato ang dakong kaakohan sa pagpatunhay sa hustisya ug kaangayan, sa gugma ug pakigdait, sa pag-inigsoonay ug pagtinabangay, ug uban pang mga hiyas nga maoy timailhan sa tinuod nga paghari sa Dios. (Abet Uy)



This parable has much to tell us in three directions.

(i) It has much to tell us about God.

(a) It tells of God’s trust in men. The owner of the vineyard entrusted it to the cultivators. He did not even stand over them to exercise a police-like supervision. He went away and left them with their task. God pays men the compliment of entrusting them with his work. Every task we receive is a task given us to do by God.

(b) It tells of God’s patience. The master sent messenger after messenger. He did not come with sudden vengeance when one messenger had been abused and ill-treated. He gave the cultivators chance after chance to respond to his appeal. God bears with men in all their sinning and will not cast them off.

(c) It tells of God’s judgment. In the end the master of the vineyard took the vineyard from the cultivators and gave it to others. God’s sternest judgment is when he takes out of our hands the task which he meant us to do. A man has sunk to his lowest level when he has become useless to God.

(ii) It has much to tell us about men.

(a) It tells of human privilege. The vineyard was equipped with everything–the hedge, the wine press, the tower–which would make the task of the cultivators easy and enable them to discharge it well. God does not only give us a task to do; he also gives us the means whereby to do it.

(b) It tells of human freedom. The master left the cultivators to do the task as they liked. God is no tyrannical task-master; he is like a wise commander who allocates a task and then trusts a man to do it.

(c) It tells of human answerability. To all men comes a day of reckoning. We are answerable for the way in which we have carried out the task God gave us to do.

(d) It tells of the deliberateness of human sin. The cultivators carry out a deliberate policy of rebellion and disobedience towards the master. Sin is deliberate opposite to God; it is the taking of our own way when we know quite well what the way of God is.

(iii) It has much to tell us about Jesus.

(a) It tells of the claim of Jesus. It shows us quite clearly Jesus lifting himself out of the succession of the prophets. Those who come before him were the messengers of God; no one could deny them that honour; but they were servants; he was the Son. This parable contains one of the clearest claims Jesus ever made to be unique, to be different from even the greatest of those who went before.

(b) It tells of the sacrifice of Jesus. It makes it clear that Jesus knew what lay ahead. In the parable the hands of wicked men killed the son. Jesus was never in any doubt of what lay ahead. He did not die because he was compelled to die; he went willingly and open-eyed to death.


Jesus teaches the people: This parable reveals three important points

First, it reveals God’s patience. God gave the tenant farmers three chances, even in the face of violence.

Second, it reveals Jesus’ uniqueness. Jesus is not just another prophet, like the other prophets (slaves). He represents something totally new. He is the owner’s (God’s) own son.

Third, it reveals our accountability. It shows that sooner or later we will be held accountable to God for our actions, just as the tenant farmers (religious leaders) were held accountable for their actions.

In what ways has God exercised great patience with us, just as he did with the tenant farmers?

“Patience is power; with time and patience the mulberry leaf becomes silk” – Chinese proverb. (Mark Link SJ, Illustrated Daily Homilies Seasons and Feasts, 1997:114)


Friday of the 2nd Week of Lent (A): Matthew 21:33-46. Who would be heirs of the kingdom of heaven? After giving a parable, Jesus admonishes the chief priests and the Pharisees: “Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it.” The Jews were God’s chosen people but many of them remained stubborn and rebellious, and because of this, Jesus had to warn them of their impending loss. This gospel reminds us that people’s moral way of life are more important that their title and status. For Jesus, honor belongs to those who love and care, who are righteous and just, and who love God and neighbor more than the self. Even our status as Christians would mean very little if we don’t bear fruits of love, justice, joy, and peace. (Abet Uy)


BARBERO: Siguro walang Diyos.

BATA: Bakit naman po?

BARBERO: Edi sana wala ng naghihirap at nagdudusa?

BATA: (Pagtingin nya sa bintana my nakita siyang pulubing may madumi at mahabang buhok)

BATA: siguro walang barbero.

BARBERO: Bulag kaba? Barbero kaya ako.

BATA: Kung meron, edi sana walang pulubing madumi at mahaba ang buhok?

BARBERO: Eh di naman sila lumalpit sakin eh!

BATA: Kung lahat po tayo marunong LUMAPIT sa Diyos, edi sana walang naghihirap at nagdudusa.


February 26, 2016

REFLECTION: Not many people understand the difference between envy and jealousy Yet, the difference between the two is considerable. To be jealous is to be possessive of something we have and over-fearful of losing it. To envy is to desire to have for oneself something possessed by another.

Today’s two readings are about cases of envy. The half-brothers of Joseph begrudge him two things they do not have and that he has: the preferential love of his father Jacob, and the gift of symbolic and prophetic dreams. When they plan to kill him, twice they refer to this gift: “Here comes the specialist in dreams… Then we’ll see what his dreams were all about!” In Jesus’ parable, the evil tenants want to kill the owner’s son so that they will take possession of the latter’s property. They envy his status as future owner: “Let us kill him and his inheritance will be ours.”

In both cases envy inspires to commit murder or to attempt committing murder. No wonder that envy is classified as one of the Seven Deadly Sins! We should always be on guard against envy. Instead of begrudging other people’s gifts, let us celebrate them.


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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year III

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