Isaiah’s story of the vineyard expresses God’s love for Israel – God’s chosen people, his pride and joy. And so, Jesus’ parable of the wicked tenants becomes a powerful reproach to the chief priests and elders. They have been given responsibility for God’s vineyard, but they have not taken good care of the property entrusted to them. Instead, they have exploited their position for their own ends and persecuted the prophets who were sent as God’s messengers. And Jesus foresees that they will also kill him, the Son of God. In their response to the parable, the leaders condemn themselves out of their own mouths: “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end…”
The parable reminds us that we are stewards of the gifts that God has given us. For those called to roles of leadership in the Church, Christ offers us the model: leaders should be servants, who give themselves for those in their care, as Christ gives his life for us. These are the fruits that God wishes to see from the vineyard.