Mark 12:2

At the proper time he sent a servant to the tenants, to receive from them a share of the produce of the grape harvest;


for six days
all went according to plan

but that day apart
investigating a new investment
set free-will loose

on a proverbial eighth day
when the rent was due
renters liked their chance
to become owners

no one likes to be a cog
in someone else’s financial scheme
reparation time is here

all went according to plan
for six days


Whereas a fig tree was not in the right season for fruiting (καιρός οὐκ ἦν — kairós oúk ęn, not the time), this vineyard was τῷ καιρῷ (tō kairō, the right season). This is part of Mark’s reflexive or reflective palin pattern.

We have heard kairos back in 1:15, at the beginning of Jesus’ Galilean presence; 10:30, a new family; 11:13, fig tree out of season; and 12:2, vineyard in season—we will hear it again in 13:33, a time to watch and pray. Kairotic time is a time for decisions. Will you claim a new family, affirm that this is always the right time for clarity and mercy, and keep on your toes to respond faithfully to your best intention even when stressed?

These are not easy ways of being. Peter, the Rock, is emblematic of how difficult it is in the moment to live what he desires to have learned.

We are just now having a wider circle to talk about white privilege. This is something long overdue. In a sense Whites are still seeing the world around them, not as humble tenants, but as rightful owners of anyone not able to pass as White. This story about a fruitful and abundant vineyard world and how privilege has taken over so that a minority of people, White Americans, can claim the majority of resources.

This is a parable about economics and how they can get unbalanced whether we are talking about feudal times or a capitalist market whose “invisible” hand is capable of giving everyone a very tangible finger in the eye. Just as we can analyze a fairy tale by identifying with every character in it, we need to be clear and not shy away from seeing ourselves, the Readers, as the tenants.

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