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27th Sunday of Ordinary Time - Cycle A

Matthew 21:33-43

“Again he sent other servants… but they treated them in the same way.” (Matthew 21:36)

The one thing that always strikes me about this parable is how we tend to treat prophets. Especially in the Bible, we see again and again how we do NOT like being told hard truths. In fact, I can only think of a handful of times that anyone took the words of a prophet to heart immediately and changed their ways. Most of the time, the best a prophet could hope for was to be ignored, while the worst outcome resembled what happened to the servants sent by the landowner in this parable.

Even so, God keeps trying. By telling this parable, Jesus was warning the leaders of the Chosen people what is going to happen if they don’t change. They know that Jesus is comparing them to the evil tenants in this story, but cannot believe that what they said should happen to the tenants in the story will happen to them. It is because they are not able to face that reality that they will lose the power that they thought condemning Jesus would protect.

And isn’t that just every one of us when we are confronted with our own mistakes or sins that we are not ready to face? Our brains will do ANYTHING to protect us from seeing how we could be part of the problem until the consequences of our actions are too loud to ignore. Despite this tendency to cover our ears, God still tries to reach us. He knows that there will always be some hearts that are ready to hear His word and return to Him.

What this parable said to me during this reading was how God will call us out for our shenanigans. And we can either get defensive (which will only delay the inevitable) or we can recognize the warning and get back on the right path. He will humble us, but not to shame us. He corrects us so that we don’t have to experience the pain that comes from the consequences of our brokenness. I know I am the last person to want to be corrected, but I can see that pushing aside my ego can save A LOT of heartbreak in the long run. I can also see that God’s correction is an amazing act of mercy and love, if only I am willing to struggle with it for a little while.

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