SAINT PAUL OF THE CROSS, PRIEST (OPTIONAL MEMORIAL)
At an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.
Today’s Gospel (Luke 12:39-48) begins with Jesus wrapping up a parable and warning us to be ever ready for his return. Notice Peter’s response: “Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?” (Luke 12:41).
Why did Peter ask this? Perhaps he was hoping that being prepared for Jesus’ return was something he had already checked off his list. After all, he was already a follower of Jesus. Wasn’t that good enough?
It’s clear from Jesus’ response that he expects more from Peter—and from us. Instead of answering Peter directly, he tells another parable, about a servant who took advantage of his master’s trust and committed evil in his absence. This story may raise uneasy questions. Are we the servants who should know better? If Jesus returned today, how would he judge us?
Although we may tell ourselves we’re not as bad as the servant in the parable, Jesus doesn’t want us to be complacent. It’s easy to fall into the same trap that doomed the servant. The master was out of sight, out of mind. No one knew when he was coming back, so it was easy to forget that he was coming back.
Because we cannot see God, it’s sometimes easy to forget about him. Other things going on around us gobble up our attention, leaving less for God. We may think we have lots of time stretching before us, so we put off shedding bad habits and making changes that could bring us closer to God. But we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. We may find ourselves face-to-face with Jesus sooner than we think!
It can be tempting, like Peter, to wonder if this parable is meant for us: the faithful and the prayerful. The short answer is, yes! We have been entrusted with much, just as the servant in the parable had been given much. Jesus has left us to care for his Church as well as the whole of his creation. We know the will of our Master, and we need to make sure we are about his business.
“Jesus, help me to be ready to greet you when you come again!”