In the Gospel this Sunday, Jesus directs a parable at the chief priests and the elders about them being the tenants of the vineyard of Israel and not the owners. The suggestion is that the rulers of the people had gone way beyond themselves in usurping the place of God and abusing their power. The Gospel passage ends with the words 'I tell you then that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit'. Here is a newsletter insert taken from Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment 'Laudato Si' in which he points out how the same attitude of the tenants of the vineyard has led to the destruction of the environment.
'The misuse of creation begins when we no longer recognize any higher instance than ourselves, when we see nothing else but ourselves...whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenceless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule...'
'That is how we end up worshipping earthly powers, or ourselves usurping the place of God, even to the point of claiming an unlimited right to trample his creation underfoot. The best way to restore men and women to their rightful place, putting an end to their claim to absolute dominion over the earth, is to speak once more of the figure of a Father who creates and who alone owns the world. Otherwise, human beings will always try to impose their own laws and interests on reality.
'The work of the Church seeks not only to remind everyone of the duty to care for nature, but at the same time “she must above all protect mankind from self-destruction”.