Gospel Reflection Aug 7 – Kim VanHuffel
Sunday, August 7
Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Luke 12: 32-48
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not be afraid any longer, little flock,
for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom.
Sell your belongings and give alms.
Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out,
an inexhaustible treasure in heaven
that no thief can reach nor moth destroy.
For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.
“Gird your loins and light your lamps
and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding,
ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.
Blessed are those servants
whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.
Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself,
have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.
And should he come in the second or third watch
and find them prepared in this way,
blessed are those servants.
Be sure of this:
if the master of the house had known the hour
when the thief was coming,
he would not have let his house be broken into.
You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect,
the Son of Man will come.”
Then Peter said,
“Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?”
And the Lord replied,
“Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward
whom the master will put in charge of his servants
to distribute the food allowance at the proper time?
Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so.
Truly, I say to you, the master will put the servant
in charge of all his property.
But if that servant says to himself,
‘My master is delayed in coming,’
and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants,
to eat and drink and get drunk,
then that servant’s master will come
on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour
and will punish the servant severely
and assign him a place with the unfaithful.
That servant who knew his master’s will
but did not make preparations 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 only lightly.
Much will be required of the person entrusted with much,
and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”
Today’s gospel reading is a glimpse forward to Advent — “be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” We are also reminded to store up our treasure in heaven, not on earth. Finally, we are told that much will be expected of those who have been given much. No pressure!
What is it exactly that we are supposed to DO to be ready and HOW do we store up our treasure in heaven? What do we need to do MORE of if we have been given a lot?
I recently heard a sermon by Bishop Robert Barron about the saints. I think it sheds great light on what we ACTUALLY need to do to be ready, and to be with God in heaven someday (i.e. become saints!). He said that to be a saint is to be holy. And, to be holy is to follow God’s will. God’s will is to love. Therefore, if we want to be ready to become saints someday (go to heaven), then we need to start tuning in to what God would want for and from us (God’s will) and how to love him and love like him to our neighbors (which is everyone).
So we need to LOVE MORE if we have been given more. We need to GIVE more if we have been given much. We need to smile more. Help more. Forgive more. Build up our family/neighbors more. Listen more. Pray more. Reflect on God’s word and what he wants from us more. Pope Francis recently said, “If we leave the house in the morning keeping a word of Jesus in mind, the day will surely acquire a tone marked by that word, which has the power to orient our actions according to the Lord’s wishes.”
All of these things help us to store up our treasure in heaven by striving to be like Jesus, even if we make a mistake. God does not expect us to be perfect, but we can all hope for the day when we will hear “well done my good and faithful servants.”