26th Sunday Ordinary Time – Context, Context, Context…
Jesus’ parable about the responsiveness of the two children whom the father sent to the vineyard is not simply about being a good Catholic boy our girl. Let’s see what happens in chapter twenty-one…
Jesus enters Jerusalem like a wrecking crew! He doesn’t just step on the feet of the chief priests and scribes, rather, he rolls over them like an earth mover. Consider Jesus coming into your house, your kitchen, your man-cave and throwing out TVs and computers and ripping up check books and telling you, “You are making my house a den of robbers!” How might you react? Not too kindly, I believe.
And this is the context in which he tells the not-so-benign parable of the two children…
Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem
9 The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
‘Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!’
10 When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, ‘Who is this?’ 11 The crowds were saying, ‘This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.’
Jesus Cleanses the Temple
12 Then Jesus entered the temple[c] and drove out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13 He said to them, ‘It is written,
“My house shall be called a house of prayer”;
but you are making it a den of robbers.’
14 The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he cured them. 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the amazing things that he did, and heard[d] the children crying out in the temple, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’, they became angry…
Jesus Curses the Fig Tree
18 In the morning, when he returned to the city, he was hungry. 19 And seeing a fig tree by the side of the road, he went to it and found nothing at all on it but leaves. Then he said to it, ‘May no fruit ever come from you again!’ And the fig tree withered at once…
The Authority of Jesus Questioned
23 When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, ‘By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?’
The Parable of the Two Sons
28 ‘What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, “Son, go and work in the vineyard today.” 29 He answered, “I will not”; but later he changed his mind and went. 30 The father[e] went to the second and said the same; and he answered, “I go, sir”; but he did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?’ They said, ‘The first.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, the tax-collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax-collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.
Jesus elicits their resistance and implicit violence… really, that they might see and step into the Light. BTW, you and me, too.