OCTOBER 20 Ord Time B. Wk 29 Wed. Lk 12. 39-48
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what hour the burglar would come, he would not have let anyone break through the wall of his house. You too must stand ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’
Peter said, ‘Lord, do you mean this parable for us, or for everyone?’ The Lord replied, ‘What sort of steward, then, is faithful and wise enough for the master to place him over his household to give them their allowance of food at the proper time? Happy that servant if his master’s arrival finds him at this employment. I tell you truly, he will place him over everything he owns. But as for the servant who says to himself, “My master is taking his time coming,” and sets about beating the menservants and the maids, and eating and drinking and getting drunk, his master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know. The master will cut him off and send him to the same fate as the unfaithful.
The servant who knows what his master wants, but has not even started to carry out those wishes, will receive very many strokes of the lash. The one who did not know, but deserves to be beaten for what he has done, will receive fewer strokes. When a man has had a great deal given him, a great deal will be demanded of him; when a man has had a great deal given him on trust, even more will be expected of him.’
The point of today’s Gospel is clearly that Jesus wants his disciples to be watchful, and he makes the point we all have duties and obligations which are going to remain with us for an extended period, and therefore there is an obvious danger we will become complacent, and maybe even begin to neglect our duties due to the delay in his “coming!”
The first image he provides us with is a burglar; - someone who wants to remove our assets and valuables. Burglars have a reputation for choosing a time when the householder is not expecting anyone to enter his house, and this is certainly a characteristic which can be applied to Satan and his demons; - as being supernatural beings, they are very good at their work.
One of the failings common to Christians is not a acknowledging the reality of supernatural forces when it comes to our being tempted. We need to be reminded that Satan’s demons are fallen angels, and they possess supernatural powers; - although Christ has made it very clear these powers are not unfettered and we do have the power to resist them via prayer and sacrament.
Peter then asks; -, ‘Lord, do you mean this parable for us, or for everyone,’ and his reply makes it clear it was; - referring their responsibilities to that of a steward of the master’s household. And he contrasts the master’s treatment of the faithful and the unfaithful steward!
“Happy that servant if his master’s arrival finds him at this employment. I tell you truly, he will place him over everything he owns” is the reward for faithful service during his absence; - while for the steward who neglects his duties; - “His master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know. The master will cut him off and send him to the same fate as the unfaithful!”
Given Christ is talking about one’s readiness for eternal life; - this is indeed a grave warning!
Gospel Acclamation Mt24:42,44
Be watchful and ready:
you know not when the Son of Man is coming.
First reading Romans 6:12-18 ·
Make every part of your body a weapon fighting on the side of God
You must not let sin reign in your mortal bodies or command your obedience to bodily passions, you must not let any part of your body turn into an unholy weapon fighting on the side of sin; you should, instead, offer yourselves to God, and consider yourselves dead men brought back to life; you should make every part of your body into a weapon fighting on the side of God; and then sin will no longer dominate your life, since you are living by grace and not by law.
Does the fact that we are living by grace and not by law mean that we are free to sin? Of course not. You know that if you agree to serve and obey a master you become his slaves. You cannot be slaves of sin that leads to death and at the same time slaves of obedience that leads to righteousness. You were once slaves of sin, but thank God you submitted without reservation to the creed you were taught. You may have been freed from the slavery of sin, but only to become ‘slaves’ of righteousness.