Luke 12: 32-48

Jesus said. “What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself.

Be generous. Give to the poor. Get yourselves a bank that can’t go bankrupt, a bank in heaven far from bank-robbers, safe from embezzlers, a bank you can bank on. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, that is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.

Keep your shirts on; keep the lights on! Be like house servants waiting for their master to come back from his honeymoon, awake and ready to open the door when he arrives and knocks. Lucky the servants whom the master finds on watch! He’ll put on an apron, sit them at the table, and serve them a meal, sharing his wedding feast with them. It doesn’t matter what time of the night he arrives; they’re awake—and so blessed! You know that if the house owner had known what night the burglar was coming, he wouldn’t have stayed out late and left the place unlocked. So don’t you be slovenly and careless. Just when you don’t expect him, the Son of Man will show up.”

Peter said, “Master, are you telling this story just for us? Or is it for everybody?”

The Master said, “Let me ask you: Who is the dependable manager, full of common sense, that the master puts in charge of his staff to feed them well and on time? He is a blessed man if when the master shows up he’s doing his job. But if he says to himself, ‘The master is certainly taking his time,’ begins maltreating the servants and maids, throws parties for his friends, and gets drunk, the master will walk in when he least expects it, give him the thrashing of his life, and put him back in the kitchen peeling potatoes.

The servant who knows what his master wants and ignores it, or insolently does whatever he pleases, will be thoroughly thrashed. But if he does a poor job through ignorance, he’ll get off with a slap on the hand. Great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities!

Gospel Reflection

This passage recalls last week’s reflection on stewardship. The Lord has expectations of us, too — to stand watch, to treat others well, to keep His house in order, and to do His bidding not just out of fear but out of love for Him. Jesus promises in the parable not just that the master would be pleased with the servants, but that the master will “have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.” That is not the actions of a lord, but of a member of the family. The parable instructs that those who keep the faith and hope in salvation will not be servants, but will become the children of God.

That exceeds all experience, all expectations that remained tied up in worldliness. We have not experienced the Lord in His fullness, although many of us have felt as though we have experienced small glimpses of His love and mercy. Jesus calls us to put aside expectations, assumptions, and worldliness to remain faithful and hope in what seems impossible. We need to be the faithful and prudent stewards of our Lord’s house, and prepare ourselves for His always-unexpected return at an hour we do not expect.

Life teaches those who pay attention that we cannot impose our own will on a chaotic and fallen world. But we can align our will and our hearts with the Lord, whose will prevails in the end — whenever that may be.