The Gospel reading from the Mass for Monday of the 9th Week of Ordinary Time is Mark 12:1-12. 

After entering Jerusalem for Passion Week, Christ clashed with the Jewish leadership after He cleared the Temple. Responding to their challenge to His authority, Christ responds with the Parable of the Wicked Tenants which He uses to both rebuke and call the Jewish leadership to repentance. 

In slightly veiled terms, the parable tells of how God has given men a fruitful earth and has sent prophets, and ultimately His Beloved Son, to call men to fruitful lives. God (A man) has given men (tenants) a beautiful Creation (a vineyard with hedge, a tower and winepress). God, who is unseen (goes to another country), sends His prophets (servants) to call men to holy lives (produce fruit). Wicked men (Jewish leadership, evil men) abuse (beat, kill) God’s prophets (servants). God (the man) sends His Son Jesus (the beloved son) but wicked men (Jewish leadership, evil men) kill Christ, seeking to rule the world (get the inheritance). Christ reveals the severe judgment that comes to evil men who reject Him and the Church: the owner (God) “will come and destroy the tenants (Jewish leadership/evil men) and give the vineyard (Creation/The Church) to others (the faithful).” 

Christ quotes the 1000-year-old scripture of the “cornerstone” (Psalms 118:22-23) which cryptically refers to His Resurrection and the building of the Catholic Church. The Jewish leaders fail to recognize Jesus as the Christ but do realize He is condemning them in the parable.  Cowardly, afraid of the crowd, they abandon their plan to arrest Jesus and slink away. 

Awed by Jesus Christ – Son of God and Divine Prophet, Christ has inspired the Old Testament scripture and uses it to predict His Passion and His Church. Almighty King, Christ rebukes the Jewish leaders using both a well-crafted parable and ancient Scripture in a masterful oratory. Divine Judge, Christ confirms that men are accountable for their evil acts and will be harshly condemned. 

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Crowds are awed by Christ’s powerful parables, magnificent oratory and fearless condemnation of the corrupt Jewish leadership. Re-read and imagine you are witnessing Christ’s actions in today’s Gospel.  Be awed. 

2) God often speaks of the Church in symbolic language (a vineyard, a sheepfold). Review how God uses Symbols of the Church (CCC 753-757) and ask Christ to help you to continue to better understand and receive blessings from meditating on Scripture. 

3) Many in the Church today downplay sin and judgment, preferring to promote a false mercy where almost all are saved; in truth, Christ speaks of the Narrow Gate and speaks of God “destroying” the evil in today’s Gospel. Renew your familiarity with your coming Judgment (CCC 678-682, 1021-1022, 1038-1041) and pray for Christ to help you grow in holiness.