Homily of the Apostolic Nuncio, Chapel of the Apostolic Nunciature, Friday 22 March 2019
Gospel: Matthew 21:33-43,45-46
The text of today’s Gospel forms part of a greater whole. The chief priests and the elders had asked Jesus by what authority He did those things. They considered themselves the custodians of everything and they did not want anybody to do things without their permission. Jesus’ answer is divided into three parts:  He, in turn, asks them a question because He wants to know, in their opinion,  if John the Baptist was from heaven or from earth;  He then tells them the parable of the two sons;  He tells them the parable of the vineyard, which is today’s Gospel.
Through this parable, Jesus clarifies several things: He reveals the origin of His authority: He is the Son, the heir; He denounces the abuse of the authority of the tenants, that is of the priests and elders who were not concerned and did not take care of the people of God; He defends the authority of the prophets, sent by God, but who were killed by the priests and the elders; He unmasks the authority by which they manipulate the religion and kill the Son, because they do not want to lose the source of income which they have accumulated for themselves throughout the centuries.
At the end of the parable Jesus asks: “Now, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They are not aware that the parable was speaking precisely of them. This is why, with the response that they give, they decree their own condemnation. Several times Jesus uses this same method. He leads the person to tell the truth about himself, without knowing that he is condemning himself. From the clarification given by Jesus, the chief priests, the elders and the Pharisees understand that the parable is about them, but they do not convert. Rather, they keep to their own plan to kill Jesus. They will reject “the cornerstone.”