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A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: "Hear another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey. When vintage time drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce. But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat, another they killed, and a third they stoned. Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones, but they treated them in the same way. Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, 'They will respect my son.' But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, 'This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.' They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?" They answered him, He will put those wretched men to a wretched death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper times." Jesus said to them, "Did you never read in the Scriptures: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes? Therefore, I say to you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit." When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they knew that he was speaking about them. And although they were attempting to arrest him, they feared the crowds, for they regarded him as a prophet.

REFLECTION: " ... the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit."

When I was young, my examination of conscience was quite simple and it appeared that I did not have many sins. I was on my way to heaven! But , now, reading the examination of conscience, there are so many sins of commission and omission that I am troubled by my sins. I look back and ponder. My sins really caused Jesus' death. Think about it. Jesus would have died for just me, to save me. This is how much He loves me. That is how much He loves you.

My sins played an intimate role in every strike, every thorn, every scourging, every fall, every spit, every insult every blow and every humiliation endured by Jesus.

When we sin we choose to reject God. Lent is a time to reexamine our lives and to be free from all that interferes in our relationship with God. We repent for offending God. He has given us life with as many gifts to help us along the way. He expects us to take care of these gifts by having them grow and sharing with others. If not used they will be lost and the Kingdom of God will be given to others.

Joe C (fictional name, true story) has a respectable business. He served many years in prison for drug dealing. He was a gang member. In prison he experienced a conversion ( many rosaries were said by his mother) . He now helps at the local church, sings God's praises, and shares his wealth with the poor. We, too, can look forward, leave our sins behind, and become a friend of Jesus.

Pray that the priests will use the talents given to them by God to bring back lost souls.


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