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VATICAN CITY — Too often we have told Jesus to “go away,” because we were unable to recognize him in failure. But the “victory of God’s love” for man is revealed precisely in the apparent “failure” of the Cross. This is the lesson presented to us in parable of the murderous tenants, Pope Francis said on Monday morning in his homily at Holy Mass in the Chapel of Santa Marta.
A stone rejected that becomes the foundation stone. A scandalous execution that seems to be the end of a hopeful story, instead is the beginning of the salvation of the world. God builds on weakness. If one reads the pages the “story of love between God and his people,” Pope Francis observed, “it seems to be a story of failure.” The parable of the murderous tenants, in today’s Gospel, is one such example. It looks like the “failure of God’s dream,” the Pope said. There is a master who builds a beautiful vineyard, and there are workers who kill anyone sent by the master. But it is precisely through those deaths that everything comes to life.
“The prophets, the men of God who spoke to the people, who were not listened to, who were rejected, will be his glory. The Son, the last one sent, who was truly rejected, judged, not listened to and killed, has become the cornerstone. And this story, which begins with a dream of love, and seems to be a love story but then seems to finish in a story of failure, ends with the great love of God, that from rejection draws forth salvation; from his rejected Son, he saves us all.”
Let us not forget the Cross
This is where the logic of failure is turned upside down, the Pope said. And Jesus reminds the leaders of the people of it, citing the Scriptures: “The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the Lord's doing and it is marvelous in our eyes.” And it is “lovely also to read some of the lamentations of God in the Bible,” the Pope added, of the Father who “weeps” when the people “do not obey God, because they themselves want to become god.”
“The way of our redemption is a road of many failures, even the last one, that of the Cross. It is a scandal, but it is precisely there that love triumphs. And that story that begins with a dream of love and continues with a story of failure, ends in the victory of love: the Cross of Jesus. We must not forget this road; it is a rough road. Also our own! If each of us examines his conscience, he will see how many times, how many times he has banished the prophets; how many times he has said to Jesus: ‘Go away;’ how many times he has wanted to save himself. How many times we have thought we were the righteous ones.”
Remembering the seed of love
So, let us never forget, Pope Francis concluded, that it is in the Son’s Death on the Cross that “God’s love for his people” is revealed.
“We do well to remember this love story that seems to fail, but in the end triumphs. And to remember in story of our lives, the seed of love that God has sown in us and how it went, and doing the same thing that Jesus did on our behalf: he humbled himself.”