In today’s gospel reading, Jesus tells a parable of the vineyard, an image of Israel, the prophets’ mission, and Christ’s death. For Christians, the vineyard also speaks of God’s love poured out in the blood of Christ, given to us for the forgiveness of sin. Grafted onto Christ the vine at baptism, we are nourished with wine and bread, that we may share Christ’s sufferings and know the power of his resurrection.
Readings and Psalm
- Isaiah 5:1-7
The song of the vineyard
- Psalm 80:7-15
Look down from heaven, O God; behold and tend this vine. (Ps. 80:14, 15)
- Philippians 3:4b-14
Nothing surpasses the value of knowing Christ
- Matthew 21:33-46
The parable of the vineyard owner’s son
First Reading: Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18The holiness code in Leviticus urges people to be holy because God is holy. Holiness is lived out in partiality for and consideration of the poor and the weak. We are to love our neighbors as ourselves. God’s people exercise justice and love in their dealings with one another.1The Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
2Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.
15You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor. 16You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor: I am the Lord.
17You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. 18You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
Psalm: Psalm 1Their delight is in the law of the Lord. (Ps. 1:2)1Happy are they who have not walked in the counsel | of the wicked,
nor lingered in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seats | of the scornful!
2Their delight is in the law | of the Lord,
and they meditate on God’s teaching | day and night.
3They are like trees planted by streams of water, bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that | do not wither;
everything they | do shall prosper.
4It is not so | with the wicked;
they are like chaff which the wind | blows away.
5Therefore the wicked shall not stand upright when | judgment comes,
nor the sinner in the council | of the righteous.
6For the Lord knows the way | of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked shall | be destroyed.
Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8Paul uses maternal imagery to depict the caring and nurturing relationship he shares with the Thessalonian Christians. When he first came to their city it was not to benefit himself but to share the gospel with them, which was his responsibility as an apostle of Christ.1You yourselves know, brothers and sisters, that our coming to you was not in vain, 2but though we had already suffered and been shamefully mistreated at Philippi, as you know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition. 3For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery, 4but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts. 5As you know and as God is our witness, we never came with words of flattery or with a pretext for greed; 6nor did we seek praise from mortals, whether from you or from others, 7though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children. 8So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.
Gospel: Matthew 22:34-46Put on the spot by the Pharisees, Jesus displays wisdom by summarizing the law of God in just two commandments and by demonstrating the Messiah must be more than the son of David.34When the Pharisees heard that [Jesus] had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37He said to him, “ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38This is the greatest and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
41Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: 42“What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” 43He said to them, “How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying,
44‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet”’?
45If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?” 46No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.