Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen


Title applied to a parable recorded by all three synoptists (Matthew 21; Mark 12; Luke 20; also Isaiah 5). It was spoken by Christ during Holy Week and forms part of the dispute with the priests and Pharisees in the Temple. The story deals with a certain man who having planted a vineyard and added the enclosure or hedge, the wine-press and the watch-tower, lets it out to husbandmen, and goes into a far country for a long time. In due season this owner sends his servants to receive the fruits of the field, but the husbandmen lay violent hands on them; later other servants, greater in number, are sent, and are treated in like manner. All attempts to obtain his rent through the agency of his servants, having failed, the master of the vineyard at last sends his beloved son whom, he trusts, they will reverence. The wicked husbandmen, grown avaricious and insolent, on seeing the son reflect that this is the sole heir. Hoping to seize the whole inheritance along with the vineyard for themselves, they cast the beloved son out of the vineyard and put him to death. The interpretation of this parable is possible only by reading the additional words spoken by Christ (Matthew 21; Mark 12; Luke 20). Christ teaches plainly in this discourse the rejection of the unbelieving leaders of Israel and the majority of those who followed them. The parable is applied to the graces sent to the individual soul and the good works God expects from them. The sentence passed on the wicked husbandmen will be pronounced on every one abusing these graces. Also the similitude is applied to nations from whom the Kingdom of God might be taken away because they neglected their duties to the Lord of the vineyard. This Gospel is read on the Friday after the Second Sunday in Lent.

MLA Citation

  • “Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 11 November 2019. Web. 26 February 2021. <>