A Reading from the Gospel According to Matthew 24:42-51
Jesus said to his disciples: “Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come. Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so. Amen, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property. But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is long delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eat and drink with drunkards, the servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”
Opening Prayer: O God, who cause the minds of the faithful to unite in a single purpose, grant your people to love what you command and to desire what you promise, that, amid the uncertainties of this world, our hearts may be fixed on that place where true gladness is found. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever. Amen
We face an ongoing temptation to jog along in the present, as if there were no significant changes to be made in our lifestyles. We can get comfortable about the way things are, or upset and cynical about the poor state of the world, but do we do anything to make it better? Jesus urges us to take the longer view to believe that God is in charge of human history and wants us to play our part in bringing it to completion. We are to be ‘faithful and wise’ and live as if the Son of Man were just about to come home to us
It’s not easy to stay awake when we are tired or bored or have been waiting for a long time. This can happen in our spiritual lives too. Our initial commitment to live a life with Christ can begin to dim when other things take the place of the time we would give to him in prayer. But Jesus tells us not to get complacent. He is continually trying to speak to us, so he invites us to be vigilant so that our hearts stay open to encounter him.
What does it mean to be faithful and prudent servants? In this parable, they are the ones who treated their fellow servants with respect, stayed awake to defend the home from attack, and fed others at the right time and place.
In our own lives authentic Christian living means respecting, loving, and treating others as the Master treats us. It means giving to others generously. It entails protecting our own mind, heart, and body from the attacks of the enemy of our soul. It requires welcoming the Lord whenever he chooses to reveal himself in the circumstances of our life.
When the Master returned, he found the faithful servant where he was supposed to be, doing what he had been tasked to do. When we are living in accord with our vocation, we will also be found doing what we should be doing. We live as authentic Christians when we obey God’s will. When we strive to know the heart and mind of the Master, God can enter into our lives and find his home within.
Closing Prayer: Lord, you know how hard it is for me to stay awake. You know the distractions of my heart and how easily I let other interests and interruptions into your home, my heart. Today I choose to seek your desires, your will, so that you may find me there. I know you are constantly reaching out to me in love. Give me an open heart to see you and hear you.
Thomas Merton writes: ‘Every moment and every event in every person’s life plants something in their soul.’
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will take time to reassess my commitments to ensure I am being faithful to the duties of my calling.