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Saint Mark in this twelfth chapter of his Gospel tells us our Lord began to speak to the chief priest, the elders and the scribes in parables. The purpose of a parable is to teach, it’s a story often built on a real incident or on a certain prescription of law that carries with it another message, a deeper message, in particular a spiritual message. Our Lord made His way up to Jerusalem; He had spoken about His passion to the disciples on the way. He had cleansed the temple and the authorities had challenged Him, “By what authority do you do this?” And He answered appropriately, but they are adamant that He must die and so our Lord speaks the following parables to warn them that they were in fact to the point of losing their independence, their kingdom and everything that God had given them, and even worse they were at the point in losing their relationship with God Himself.
The parable is based partly on Jewish law and partly in incidence that rarely did occur. When a rich, wealthy man has property, he does not look after it himself, he would ordinarily lease it out to tenants and he would live not in the village in the area but would go off in to a town where he would enjoy his wealth in a more sophisticated way. The tenants would have the responsibility of looking after the vineyard and they would live off the produce of the vineyard but they’d also have to pay a rental, a lease to the owner… For Fr. Linus’ complete homily please listen to the Audio.