Jesus is down to the last week of his life and the parables he tells are pointed and understood.  Matthew first shares the parable of the landowner who rents out his property that he has set up as a vineyard.  The tenants, though, do not want to give the owner his share of the harvest and kill the men sent to collect.  Next the owner sends his son and he is killed also.  Jesus faces the religious leaders and asks, “What will the owner do?”  They know the answer and know they are the ungrateful tenants mismanaging God’s property.

         So what do you do when things don’t go the way you think they should and you are not treated respectfully?  If you do not get your fair share, do you just forgive?  In this parable, the owner does not turn his cheek and forgive the selfishness of the tenants.  He does not say he will wait another year and see if they have a change of heart.  He does not excuse the murder of his son.  I think we sometimes confuse God and Santa Claus.  We would like to think of God as some loving being off in the heavens who is on our side, willing to tolerate our short sightedness.

         Lent is a time when we honestly look at ourselves and ask ourselves if we are responding to God respectfully, giving him the honor and allegiance due our creator and sustainer.  If our answer is no then we must choose to repent and we can look at our excuses and see where we need to make a course correction.  Humbling ourselves is not a popular message these days or back then.  The religious leaders when confronted with this parable sought ways to arrest Jesus.  Let us pray for the humility to have ears that hear from others and that we are willing to “get our act together” that we might grow into our better selves.  God is on our side, cheering for us.  Blessings.

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