Gospel Reflection: 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Malvern Minute

 

NINETEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

AUGUST 7, 2016

Alleluia, Alleluia.

Stay awake and be ready!

For you do not know on what day your Lord will come.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

The holy Gospel according to Saint 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.

The Gospel of the Lord

 

REFLECTION

The first paragraph of today’s Gospel from Saint Luke ends with these words from Jesus: For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.  This sentence acts for us as a bridge to last Sunday’s exhortation: Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God.”

The Gospels of last week and this Sunday stress the contrasting value systems of this world versus the values of God!  Our culture aggressively saturates us with the propaganda that one’s life is judged primarily by the amount of riches and goods we have stored up for ourselves.  While at times it also lauds generosity, it never goes as far as the Gospel to suggest that like the Gospel Widow we should give from our want and not our surplus.

A good question to ponder today is why is it that the Gospel stresses this radical detachment from possessions.   Saint Luke’s Gospel repeats over and over in different forms that detachment from possessions is a preparation for the coming of the Son of Man.  Gospel-encouraged-detachment is the concrete manifestation of faith and confidence in a benevolent God.  However, a life that rests on and is confident in Divine Providence does not happen overnight.  The Gospel stresses repeatedly this spiritual disposition because we need to struggle daily with detaching ourselves from this world and its promises and attaching ourselves to the Kingdom of God and its truth! You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.

The alertness and vigilance that Jesus calls for describes the disciple’s heart, and consequently the daily pattern of life one lives who is awaiting the Lord.  Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.  The authentic disciple has his/her eyes fixed only on Jesus, and therefore all life is evaluated in term of Jesus’ life and His revealed values.  Alertness and vigilance is a discipline that the disciple embraces and develops through practice.  Practicing one Faith means that each day begins with reflection on a segment of the Gospels and prayerful meditation on its application in one’s life.  The Gospel is a play-book for living!

How powerful it is to hear each day in different ways the assuring voice of Jesus who encourages us to embrace His life and way without hesitation: Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom.  If it so pleases the Father to guarantee us a share in His Kingdom, should we not have the confidence to engage life without unnecessary anxiety and fear for today’s needs, let alone tomorrow’s.   One cannot help but recall Saint Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount when Jesus teaches how His Father cares for birds and flowers and they do not worry.

It makes practical sense that if our hands and arms are filled with things, we cannot grasp Jesus.  If we are attached to things, how can we cling to Jesus?  Truly, where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.

The teaching is radical and very challenging.  That is why we do not have any time to waste in practicing this virtue of detachment.  In that way we will begin today to demonstrate our confidence in God and our gratitude.  Our lives will reflect that we understand the words of Jesus: Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.

WE BELIEVE, AND THEREFORE SPEAK (2 Corinthians 4:13)

Consider joining the Men and Women of Malvern by deepening your personal relationship with Jesus and your commitment as a disciple through a weekend retreat.  See our website for details: MalvernRetreat.com

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