To read the texts click on the texts: Tobit 1,3; 2,1-8; Mk 12:1-12
This Parable is known variously as the parable of the wicked tenants or the Parable of the Vineyard. While the parable in Mark has been allegorised, it is not clear whether there was a non-allegorical parable going back to Jesus. Those who are of the opinion that there was a non-allegorical parable interpret it to mean that just as the tenants took radical action, so radical action is required in order to gain the kingdom. Others see the parable to mean that the kingdom will be taken away from Israel’s false leadership and given to gentiles and sinners. Still others see the parable to mean that God does not abandon and relentlessly seeks and searches for them and longs for a response from them.
As the parable stands now in Mark, it has been allegorised. The vineyard stands for Israel and the murderous tenants for the bad leaders of Israel. The owner of the vineyard is God who sent his servants to collect the produce due to him. The tenants treat the servants shamefully and as the parable unfolds, so does the escalating nature of violence, which culminates in the murder of the son. God, finally takes matters into his own hands but does not destroy the vineyard, rather he gives it to others whom he knows will give him what is due to him.
The authorities realise that the parable is about them and this only hardens their stance against Jesus and strengthens their resolve to destroy him.
All that we possess is given to us in trust. This means that while we may use what we have, we have also to be concerned about those who do not have and be generous with them. Selfishness on our part leads to our thinking that we must use the things we have exclusively without even the thought of sharing them with others.
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