Gospel Mt 21:33-43
No Cheap Grace
This week’s Gospel has Jesus presenting a parable which really throws us off. We are somewhat shocked at the behaviour of the tenants of the vineyard, who seem utterly consumed in their greed, willing to stop at nothing, not even murder, to satisfy their lust for riches and produce which in fact was not theirs to keep.
The owner of the vineyard is tireless in his attempts to reason with these tenants, and omits nothing from his attempts to bring salvation to these wicked tenants, not even sparing his son. As their wickedness increased so too did the mercy of the land owner.
The allegory here is obvious, the landowner is an image of God the Father, and the tenants are in a certain sense representatives of each and every one of us who at times neglect to do justice towards God, not giving him his due.
What is important to note here is that God is showing the unfathomable depths of His mercy, to the point of sending his Son into the fray, knowing that he will be in danger – risking his very life.
We are constantly in need of reminders of God’s mercy – we need reminders that God is not simply on the lookout for things to punish us for but instead is looking for opportunities to save us from our own selfish and sinful desires.
In all this too, we must remember at what cost His mercy comes – the blood of His Son. It is in remembering this that we do not take God’s mercy for granted. Mercy is no cheap grace, and while it cannot be earned, it must be received freely, as a gift freely given. God will not force it upon us.