Mt 21:33-43, 45-46
Listen to another example: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a fence around it, dug a hole for the wine press, built a watchtower, leased the vineyard to tenants, and then, went to a distant country. When harvest time came, the landowner sent his servants to the tenants to collect his share of the harvest. But the tenants seized his servants, beat one, killed another, and stoned a third.
Again, the owner sent more servants; but they were treated in the same way.
Finally, he sent his son, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they thought, ‘This is the one who is to inherit the vineyard. Let us kill him, and his inheritance will be ours.’ So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
Now, what will the owner of the vineyard do with the tenants when he comes?” They said to him, “He will bring those evil men to an evil end, and lease the vineyard to others, who will pay him in due time.”
And Jesus replied, “Have you never read what the Scriptures say? The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, and we marvel at it. Therefore I say to you: the kingdom of heaven will be taken from you, and given to a people who will produce its fruit.
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard these parables, they realized that Jesus was referring to them. They would have arrested him, but they were afraid of the crowd, who regarded him as a prophet.
Not many people understand the difference between envy and jealousy Yet, the difference between the two is considerable. To be jealous is to be possessive of something we have and over-fearful of losing it. To envy is to desire to have for oneself something possessed by another.
Today’s two readings are about cases of envy. The half-brothers of Joseph begrudge him two things they do not have and that he has: the preferential love of his father Jacob, and the gift of symbolic and prophetic dreams. When they plan to kill him, twice they refer to this gift: “Here comes the specialist in dreams… Then we’ll see what his dreams were all about!” In Jesus’ parable, the evil tenants want to kill the owner’s son so that they will take possession of the latter’s property. They envy his status as future owner: “Let us kill him and his inheritance will be ours.”
In both cases envy inspires to commit murder or to attempt committing murder. No wonder that envy is classified as one of the Seven Deadly Sins! We should always be on guard against envy. Instead of begrudging other people’s gifts, let us celebrate them.
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