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March 10 | Mark 12:1-12


 

DAILY READING


 

REFLECTION


Succession Plans

by Elaine Pierce


The owner of my neighborhood grocery store recently announced that she had sold the store and would be retiring. It had been in her family for 75 years, and it was a difficult decision, but she decided it was time, and she and her husband sold it to two longtime employees. So the store has new owners, and the success or failure of the business will be up to them.


In today's passage, Jesus tells a parable about a vineyard owner whose employees, the tenant farmers who cared for the vineyard, were not loyal to their boss, to put it mildly. When the owner sent a servant to collect his earnings, the tenants beat up the servant and refused to pay. Finally, he sent his son, a son whom he loved (v. 6), and what did the tenants, the ungrateful employees, do? They killed his son, and this was their rationale: "This is the heir [of the vineyard]. Come, let's kill him and the inheritance will be ours." (v. 7).


The pharisees, to whom Jesus was speaking, recognized that they were the tenant-farmers in this story, and 'they looked for a way to arrest him (v. 12). Instead of being filled with remorse for their sin, they vowed revenge. They knew they were wrong, but they were determined to find a way to get rid of Jesus, and keep their stranglehold on the religious life of the Jewish people. Instead of seeking forgiveness and asking for mercy, they looked for ways to punish Jesus, and to eradicate his teaching and his influence, which was growing every day, judging by the crowds who followed him and hung on his every word.


It would be so easy to scoff at the pharisees, wouldn't it? If they saw themselves in this parable, why didn't they see how wrong they were about Jesus? Ah, but take a moment to think about times in your life when you know you've gone down the wrong path. It's much easier to blame others, or to turn your back on the Lord, than it is to stop, confess your sin, and ask for forgiveness. The vineyard owner sent his son, his only son whom he loved, and the tenant-farmers rejected him. As we sit at the foot of the cross, let's give thanks for the gift of eternal life, and let's ask Jesus today and every day to help us stay on the path of truth and righteousness.


And when we stray - and we will - he will be waiting for us to return to him. He does not keep a record of wrongs, and Jesus intercedes for us. Thanks be to God!


PRAYER

As we journey through Lent, Lord, help us to be mindful of your grace that is new every day. Thank you for the gift of life, and help me to love you, to serve you, and to praise you. Amen.






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