27th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A 3rd / 4th October, 2020

A form of the parable of the wicked tenants is found in each of the synoptic gospels. It may be that the original story has been lost because by the time it found its way in to the gospel tradition it had been “allegorised”. Simply put, an allegory is a story in which different elements are identified as having a specific meaning. This contrasts with the most authentic parables where it is an unexpected ending that discloses meaning and generates insight.  In today’s version of the parable it is clear that we are intended to see the landowner as God, the vineyard as Israel, the servants as prophets, the tenants as the Jewish authorities, and the son as Jesus. It is crucial to remember where in the gospel narrative this story appears. Jesus has already entered Jerusalem for the last time, and the conflict between him and the religious leaders has become intense and irreversible. We must also be mindful of the role this story plays in later years as the Christina and Jewish communities begin to part company and see themselves as rivals.