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Heard Enough?

The stone which the builders rejected has become the keystone of the structure
Matthew 21:33-43

Sermon Topic Crisis of Faith

Sermon Week Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A

Scripture Summary Matthew 21:42


A small boy was visiting his grandmother for the first time. She lived in a small Wyoming town--cowboy country. On arrival, the boy's initial reaction was to cry out, "Grandma, look at those bowlegged cowboys." The grandmother was shocked and embarrassed, fearful that someone might have heard the outburst. Consequently, she immediately took her grandson to her home and there devoted much of the day trying to refine his vocabulary. The next morning, as they were walking through town, the lad again commented on the local gentry, this time trying his best not to embarrass his grandmother. He said, "Grandma,

Hark! What manner of men are these
Who wear their legs in parentheses!"

The story illustrates, among other things, that there can be many different ways of saying the same thing, making the same point. Jesus employed many different ways of communicating the Good News of God's love to his disciples. He instructed them through prayer. He instructed them through miracles. He instructed them through the Scriptures. He instructed them through ordinary conversation. And, He instructed them through parables, as in today's Gospel Lesson: The "Parable of the Tenants." The owner of a vineyard leases it to some tenant farmers. For three successive years the tenants forcibly resist the owner's efforts to claim his rightful share of the harvest. They murder his agents who come to collect. And, after three harvests, they are in a strong position to acquire ownership of the land by means of what we would call "squatters rights." If they can successfully resist the owner's claims following the fourth harvest they will be in a legal position to assert ownership for themselves. The owner's legal recourse is to lodge a formal complaint against the scheming tenants, before witnesses. To do this, the owner is required by law to physically come upon the land in question. In this case, the owner sends his son (a co-partner in the land) to represent him. "They will respect my son, he reasons. But the wicked tenants murder the son too. Finally the owner himself comes upon the land, gains the [...]

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