Watch and be ready, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. Matthew 24:42, 44
Kindle in our hearts, Father,
the same faith that impelled Abraham
to set out from his home
and to live as a pilgrim in a foreign land.
As we, like him, look for the city
that none but you can design and build,
keep us watchful for your Son’s coming,
that we may be found faithful stewards
of all that you have entrusted to us.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
- Isaiah 1:1, 10-20
- Psalm 50: 1-8, 23-24
- Heb 11:1-3, 8-16
- Luke 12:13-21
- Isaiah 5:1-7
- Psalm 80: 1-2, 8-19
- Heb 11:29-12:2
- Luke 12:49-59
Ninth Sunday after Pentecost
The parable of foolish servant awaiting his master’s return:
“For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be … “You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come … “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”
Three short parables about the treasures of the reign of God are the central images of today’s Gospel:
Death comes to us like a “thief” in the night, Jesus tells his listeners; therefore, we must always be ready to meet the Lord and enter his “kingdom” with “belts tightened” and through works of charity. The first generations of Christians read this parable as an indication that Christ would return in their lifetimes, in the middle of the great Paschal night.
Jesus frequently speaks of the coming reign of his Father as a wedding feast to which all of the faithful are invited. Luke includes the image in his Gospel, as well, with an interesting twist: Those who have embraced the spirit of servanthood taught by Jesus the Master will be served by the Master himself at his table in heaven. Jesus targets the parable to the leaders of the Jewish establishment who have used their positions to advance their own prestige and wealth at the expense of the people they were appointed to serve. While God casts out the exploiters from his kingdom, the faithful leader-servants will be served by the Messiah himself at God’s great banquet.
The third parable is Luke’s version of Jesus’ story of the watchful steward who faithfully conducts the responsibilities entrusted to him by his master. This life on earth is a time that has been entrusted to us by God be about the business of preparing for the life of the world to come.
We are all called to be “faithful and prudent servants” of the abilities and resources that the “master” has entrusted to us and for which he will hold us accountable — not for the breadth and depth of those gifts but for what we have done with those gifts for the sake of the kingdom of God.
While we pay little or no attention to the reality that one day we will die and carry on as if we will live forever, the fact is that life is fragile and fleeting. If we have truly embraced the spirit of the Gospel, we are always conscious of the brevity of this life and live our days in joyful anticipation of the next.
God has entrusted to each one of us with our own gifts, talents and blessings not for our own uses and aims but to selflessly and lovingly use them for the benefit of others, without counting the cost or demanding a return. The faithful disciple will lovingly use whatever he or she possesses to bring God’s reign of hope, justice and compassion to reality in this time and place of ours.
Leadership is not a matter of exerting power to intimidate or enrich one’s own situation; leadership is the ability to inspire and enable others to do what is right, just and good. Christ-like leadership is, first and foremost, is centered in an attitude of service to those we lead.
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