“When you become detached mentally from yourself and concentrate on helping other people with their difficulties, you will be able to cope with your own more effectively. Somehow, the act of self-giving is a personal power-releasing factor.”– Norman Vincent Peale: (1898 – 1993: Minister and Author)
Gospel Text: (LK 12:39-48)
Jesus said to his disciples:
“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, he will put him
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.”
St. Luke the Evangelist presents many “stewardship parables”. Today’s Gospel passage offers two, one much longer than the other. The upshot of both is an explicit moral that lets no Christian off easily: “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” How do these words apply to an “ordinary” Christian?
First off no Christian is “ordinary”. At the moment of a person’s baptism, God infuses grace into that adopted child’s soul. The graces given include the divine virtues of faith, hope and charity. God entrusts this grace to his adopted child. Consider this fact in light of Jesus’ words at the end of today’s Gospel passage. God entrusts His own divine life to His adopted children. And of course, the graces received at Baptism are but the “first installment” of our inheritance. As we continue to grow as His children, God continues to bestow grace upon us through the sacraments and prayer.
“Much will be required of the person entrusted with much”. What will be required of us, then, as sharers in the divine life? Are you a “faithful and prudent steward”? Both of these virtues—fidelity and prudence—are required to be stewards of the graces that God gives us. Both help keep our attention on our Master: the beginning and end of all the graces of our lives.