The Gospel according to 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.”
REFLECTION: “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”
Judgment on others is often done according to our standards, our own perception - which may or may not be correct - and our own abilities and capabilities. It sneaks up on us in the form of comparison between how much we serve, how much we give, or how “faithful” we are compared to our neighbours.
A number of years ago when I began to take my faith seriously and practically, I felt inspired to emulate the path of St Francis in simplicity and detachment from material goods by trying to incorporate these principles into my personal life. At the same time, I had also moved back into the family home after a period of time living away. I discovered that my mother was buying tailor-made clothes on a monthly basis from a seamstress overseas in our native country. The closets were filled with the clothes she had bought and I could not understand when or on what occasion she would have to wear all these clothes! It was horrendously excessive I thought, then it angered me. I proceeded to share my righteous views with my mother who remained quiet and continued to buy these clothes regardless. Many months of frustration at home on my part ensued until one day, my mother came to me to ask for some help - to see if I knew any eye specialists who would be able to help her seamstress who is going blind.
It was then that I learned that my mother’s seamstress is the sole income earner for her family. She cares for her elderly parents, one of whom is a disabled veteran. If she were to go blind, the entire family would suffer much and will not be able to support themselves. And then I realised I am the one who had been blind.
Finally, I could truly see what my mother had been doing. She wanted to support this family in the most dignified way she knew how - by providing work for her seamstress. It is her way of respecting the dignity of work and of the person rather than patronizing them with her “charity”.
I was very ashamed at my judgment at my own mother. I should have known better. It also taught me an important lesson in humility, and slowness to judge others despite how sure we think we are of a situation.
My mother’s heart has always been more generous than my own and I am so grateful for her example. We have never gone without but we are also not rich by any standards, yet her openness to the needs of others have been a lesson for me, who has been given so much.
Our Lord’s above admonition has always struck a chord with me - that God will judge us based on what He has left under our stewardship, be it material, intellectual, social or spiritual goods.