Pay Attention! Be prepared! This is the core of today’s Gospel reading.
Reflections on the readings for the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 7, 2022): WIS 18:6-9; PS 33:1,12,18-19,20-22; HEB 11:1-2,8-19; LK 12:32-48
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Jesus calls on us to be vigilant as well as faithful in the way we spend our time. We cannot know our last day or the last day of the world.
Christ was present to His people two thousand years ago and, although in a different way, He still is. Our Lord wants His followers, then and now, to realize that believing in Him comes with certain expectations. In laying down His life to spare us the terrible consequences of sin and death, we need to live in His love and share His love. This means accepting the sometimes wonderful, but sometimes difficult or wearisome opportunities He gives us to serve Him and others. We have choices to make every single day until the day we die -- or the day He returns for His Second Coming. So we must learn to trust in Jesus and to stay open and aware of Him and our relationship with Him at all times. In today’s Gospel reading He offers several examples of servants and the way that they do or do not fulfill the will of their masters. We hear about those who succeed in being ready for the master’s return, and those who are not. “That servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour. … That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparation nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten lightly. Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more” (Luke 12:46-48).
Christ wants His disciples to think about what it means to follow Him; to contemplate what we do and why we do it. It is not enough to say we believe in Him. We have to show it, not grudgingly or negligently, but eagerly, joyfully. Christ wants us to be alert and active in anticipating and fulfilling our responsibilities. We may think of our Christian duties as something we accomplish by attending Mass on Sundays and generally leading “good” lives. But God decides what is good. He is clear that we need to be like Him: compassionate, generous, and sacrificing. The Father who sent His Son to die for us expects us to love and give and suffer as well. We must consider our response to God’s love for us and His desire for us to grow more like Him.
Suggested missionary action: Jesus gave Himself for us, body and soul. Are we willing to imitate Him? Then we need to pray to know how to reveal His love.