Today’s first reading from Genesis 37 is the story of Joseph being sold out by his brothers. The brothers were jealous of him because he was the favored son of Israel, their father. Originally the plan was to kill him. But one of the brothers had a fit of conscience and nixed that plan. So they sold him into slavery for twenty pieces of silver. With family like that, who needs friends, huh? In the Gospel reading from Matthew 21, Jesus tells a parable about a landowner.
The landowner sends numerous servants to look after a vineyard that he had leased to some tenants. The tenants abuse and kill them all. So the landowner sends his son. And they kill him. Jesus then says to the chief priests and elders, to whom he addressed the parable, “the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.” After figuring out that the parable was about them, the chief priests and elders didn’t take too kindly to the message. Wonder why…
It is so important that we produce fruit for the Kingdom. Otherwise, I believe the same fate will befall us. Unfortunately, sometimes even within the Church, people don’t take kindly to the message. False prophets are still around today. They want to advance their own message, so they often even subvert the Church. This can often create a sterile, if not hostile, environment. It will produce no fruit. We must be open to God’s Spirit, ready to heed the message of the Gospel and repent of our evil ways. Rather than killing the messenger, let us open our hearts and ears to truly hear the message. Only when we hear it and live it out will we produce fruit for the Kingdom.
Father, open our hearts and minds to always hear your Son’s words. Keep us open to you Spirit, that we may bear abundant fruit for the Kingdom. Amen.
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