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Monday, June 1, 2009

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St. Justin

Tobit 1:3; 2:1-8
Psalm 112:1-6
Mark 12:1-12

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fruit and nuts

"He still had One to send — the Son Whom He loved. He sent Him to them as a last resort, thinking, 'They will have to respect My Son.' " —Mark 12:6

God, the good Master, digs out a vat for tenants who will soon mock His messengers and murder His Son (Mk 12:1-8). The tenant farmers were entrusted to run the vineyard for the Master in His absence. They have been given much, and therefore much will be required of them (Lk 12:48). The Master has the right, in justice, to receive His own fruit from His own property, so He sent a messenger to receive His share of the fruit.

When the tenants beat the first messenger (Mk 12:3), the Master could have sent the police to evict the ungrateful tenants. Instead, He sent His prophets to enrich them, essentially to hoe around them another year (Lk 13:8). These were beaten, mocked, and even killed. Incredibly, the Master even sent His Son as a "last resort" (Mk 12:6). Doesn't the Master "get it"? Either the Master is incredibly stupid or He is loving and merciful far beyond our ability to comprehend.

Jesus told the parable of the tenants for the religious leaders of His day (Mk 12:12). It was intended as a means to urge them to accept Jesus as God's Son. After being given so many chances to bear the fruit God sought, how did Jesus' hearers respond to Him? "They left Him and went off" (Mk 12:12).

Jesus seeks kingdom-fruit from us (Mk 12:2). We must repent deeply of the times we have heard Him and walked away (Mk 12:12). Let's be His disciples and bear much fruit (Jn 15:8).

Prayer:  Jesus, trim me clean of barren branches so I may bear an increased yield of fruit for You (Jn 15:2).

Promise:  "Happy the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commands." —Ps 112:1

Praise:  St. Justin's last recorded words were addressed to his executioners: "Do as you will. We are Christians; we do not offer sacrifice to idols."

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 5, 2009

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