Friends, our Gospel today recounts the parable of the landowner who planted a vineyard and leased it to tenants. God is the landowner, the vineyard is his creation, and we are the tenants, responsible for caring for it.
In Jesus’ telling of the story, the servants that the landowner sent to obtain his produce are the prophets and teachers of Israel, those who remind the people of their responsibilities toward God. But the tenants beat one servant, killed another, and stoned a third.
Finally, the landowner sent his son, expecting the tenants to respect him. So Jesus came, that we might direct the whole of our lives back to God, that we might remember that we are tenants and that the whole of the world belongs to God.
“But when the tenants saw the son . . . they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.” Here, of course, is the whole tragedy of Jesus’ cross. When God sent his Son to us, we killed him. This is the insane resistance to God’s intentions that is called sin.