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Gospel for Sunday, October 4: Matthew 21: 33-43


33Listen to another parable: there was a man who owned land and planted a vineyard there. He surrounded it with a hedge, dug a hole for the wine press and built a tower. He rented it to some farmers and went far away. 34When the time came to harvest the fruits, he sent his servants to the farmers to collect the harvest. 35But the farmers took the servants and beat one, killed another, stoned another. 36He again sent other servants, more numerous than the first, but they treated them in the same way. 37Finally he sent them his son saying: “They will have respect for my son!”. 38But the farmers, seeing their son, said to each other: “This is the heir. Come on, let’s kill him and we will have his inheritance!”. 39They caught him, chased him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40So when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those farmers?” 41They replied: “He will make those wicked people die miserably and will rent the vineyard to other farmers, who will deliver the fruits to him in due time.” 42And Jesus said to them: “Have you never read in the Scriptures: The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was done by the Lord, and is marvelous in our eyes? 43Therefore I say to you: the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruits”.

Mt 21: 33-43

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (

Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.

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In the Old Testament the image of the vineyard or vine is recurring to designate Israel as the people of God, his property (Is 5.1-7; 27.2-6; Jer 2.21; Ps 80.9.. .): and this metaphor is also taken up by the Synoptic Gospels (Mt 20.1-16; 21.33-43; Luke 13.6-9). The Gospel announces that a new people, the Church, is called to “bear fruit in its time” (Mt 21.41), basing itself on Christ, “the stone that the builders rejected and which became the cornerstone” ( Mt 21.42).

But woe betide us if we become arrogant towards Israel: in fact “salvation comes from the Jews” (Jn 4:22)! The Church is in fact rooted in Israel. First of all because not all of Israel rejected Christ, but only a part of it: Mary, the Apostles, the first Church in fact, like Jesus, belonged to the Jewish people. Furthermore, Paul, in the letter to the Romans, in a chapter, the eleventh, which we have too often overlooked with dramatic consequences in Christian-Jewish relations, reveals to us what the “mystery of Israel” is (Rom 11.25) and its destiny. , and what attitude Christians should have towards the chosen people.

Paul first stated: “I have great pain and continuous suffering in my heart. In fact, I would like to be anathema myself, separated from Christ for the benefit of my brothers, my relatives according to the flesh. They are Israelites and possess adoption as sons, glory, alliances, legislation, worship, promises, patriarchs; from them comes Christ according to the flesh, who is above all, God blessed forever” (Rom 9:2-5). “Paul’s pain for Israel is also the pain of the entire Christian world, which must recognize with shame that with his behavior towards the Jewish people he contributed to hardening their disbelief” (P. Althaus).

But then Paul announces that, when all the people have accepted to be part of the Church, then all Israel will also convert (Rm 11,2.11.25-29). And the conversion of Israel will coincide with the final resurrection (Rom 11,12.15). If Israel’s reprobation was the salvation of the pagan peoples, their acceptance by God will be the end of times, the ultimate universal reconciliation, the eschatological messianic salvation.

The Church’s attitude towards Israel must therefore first and foremost be one of veneration. Paul addresses Christians who are not of Jewish origin and warns them not to boast against the Jews: the Church coming from paganism has not supplanted Israel, but it is Israel that has welcomed the pagans into itself and allowed them to participate in the Promise her. Ethno-Christians are the olive tree grafted onto the good olive tree that is Israel: it is Israel that also governs the Church made up of ex-pagans (Rm 11,17-18).

The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council warns us: “The Jews, because of the Fathers, still remain dear to God, whose gifts and vocation are without repentance… The Church also, mindful of the heritage that it has in common with the Jews… , deplores the hatred, persecution and all manifestations of anti-Semitism directed against the Jews at any time and by anyone” (Nostra aetate, n. 4).

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at


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