Chapter 5: Parables, or Why Jesus Was Not a Free-Market Capitalist

Chapter 6 is about how Jesus taught in parables as a way to contrast the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Herod Antipas and his collaborators.

The parables of the Talents and of the Workers in the Vineyard are paired because they involve money and wealth accumulation, both through investing and in owning land. While the parables are told in individual Gospel accounts to help people in those communities understand their location, it’s important to realize that the location of Jesus as he walked around Israel, teaching from Judaea to the Galilee, must be taken into account in relating that location to our location on the streets and in the fields and factories where people work today.

People from the fields, or on the streets, who came to listen to Jesus in his own time were most likely those suffering from unjust economic practices in their time, but that doesn’t mean they could see what was wrong.  Parables are a drama of reversal, where folks are suddenly in a crisis in the making, and they have to choose where they will stand.

Religious faith can help highlight the contrast between God’s revelation of the Kingdom and current conditions. Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, and the United Farm Workers movement they started, used faith themes to highlight the injustices faced by those who labored in the fields and vineyards.

Cesar Chavez walks through a field with farm workers, one of whom carries a banner with Our Lady of Guadalupe on it

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