A man planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it,
dug a wine press, and built a tower.
Then he leased it to tenant farmers and left on a journey.
Today’s Gospel reading is one of those parables that we hear often, but I think we can be puzzled by it and so just put it aside, spiritually speaking. One of the details that I often miss is this little introduction: the surprising part is the action and mayhem that takes place in the body of the parable, so this detail is hardly even noticed.
But look what it gives us. A man plants a vineyard. The “man” of course is God, who has planted a vineyard for us to grow in and thrive and work. We are the “tenant farmers” to whom he leases the vineyard. With the vineyard, he puts a hedge around it, digs a wine press and builds a tower. Everything we need for the work of the vineyard to be accomplished is given to us. The question before us is how industrious will we be, what will we accomplish to give God glory?
We could be those who ignore the messengers and not give God his due. Or we could even go so far as to kill the heir, as the religious leaders of Jesus’ time certainly did. But we disciples aren’t like that, instead, we need to tend to the hedge, press the grapes and bring the harvest to the tower for God’s glory.