Faithful and Prudent Servants Presenting Ourselves to God as Raised from the Dead, 29th Wednesday (I), October 23, 2013

Fr. Roger J. Landry
St. Bernadette Parish, Fall River, MA
Wednesday of the 29th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I
Memorial of St. John of Capistrano
October 23, 2013
Rom 6:12-18, Ps 124, Lk 12:39-48

To listen to an audio of today’s homily, please click here: 

 

The following points were attempted in the homily:

  • “Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward whom the Master will put in charge of his household?” We’re all called to be faithful and prudent stewards of the Lord’s gifts. The Lord says that “much will be required of the person entrusted with much and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” None of us has been entrusted with “little,” but “much” and “more.” To be a good steward of the Lord’s gifts we need to “distribute” to give of the Lord’s gifts along with ourselves to others. To do that we need to grasp the lesson from before the parable, that, as we heard yesterday, the Lord is constantly coming, knocking at the door of our hearts, and he wants us to be ready with lamps lit and loins gift to open our hearts and our lives to him. The unfaithful and imprudent steward is unprepared, lacks this awareness, the expectation of the Lord. Jesus says such an unfaithful and imprudent pseudo-steward believes that his master is delaying and begins to sin privately and against others, getting hammered and beating others. When we are aware that God is at our side we would almost never choose to sin.
  • St. Paul makes a similar distinction in today’s first reading. The faithful and wise stewards are those who “present yourselves to God as raised from the dead and the parts of your bodies to God as weapons for righteousness.” They are “obedient from the heart to the pattern teaching to which you were entrusted” and have become “slaves of righteousness.” The unfaithful and unwise pseudo-stewards allow sin to reign over their bodies and “present the parts of your bodies to sin as weapons for wickedness.” Our bodies, which are sacraments of who we are body-and-soul, are meant to glorify God, to be given to God and in God to others. So often, however, we allow our bodies to be slaves to sin, and give ourselves to sinfulness. We see this when people get drunk. We see it when people are addicted to pleasure or to sex or to power or to their egos. By Jesus’ action, he has set us free from this slavery, but in order to keep it, we can’t be passive: we need to present our bodies to God as raised from the dead. We need to live a risen life. And that will never happen unless we’re regularly giving our bodies, our hearts, to God in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation so that he can raise us from the spiritual death of sins.
  • St. John of Capistrano, whom the Church celebrates today, was a saint who saw his entire life as a “weapon for righteousness,” to fight against heresy, to fight against Muslim incursions in Europe, to fight for the Holy Name of Jesus and conversion.
  • The way he presented his body to God as raised from the dead each day was at Mass, just as we have the chance to do so today. At the offertory of the Mass, we are called to present our bodies as a holy and acceptable sacrifice to God, our spiritual worship. Doing so here “from the heart” is the way we do so in life and remain always alert to God’s giving himself to us at every moment, knocking on the door of our hearts, so that we’re never caught off guard. At Mass we received not just “much” or “more” but “most” — God himself — and we’re called to respond as good and faithful stewards to this treasure.
  • Peter asked the question today, “Is this parable meant for us or for everyone?” There was the implication that the apostles might be exempt from the lessons. Sometimes we can think ourselves exempt from really paying attention to what the Lord is asking, as if the Lord’s call to conversion is primarily directed to others. Today the Lord gives it first for us, so that we can become good and faithful servants to pass this good news, this liberating truth, to others.

The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1
ROM 6:12-18

Brothers and sisters:
Sin must not reign over your mortal bodies
so that you obey their desires.
And do not present the parts of your bodies to sin
as weapons for wickedness,
but present yourselves to God as raised from the dead to life
and the parts of your bodies to God
as weapons for righteousness.
For sin is not to have any power over you,
since you are not under the law but under grace.What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law
but under grace?
Of course not!
Do you not know that if you present yourselves
to someone as obedient slaves,
you are slaves of the one you obey,
either of sin, which leads to death,
or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
But thanks be to God that, although you were once slaves of sin,
you have become obedient from the heart
to the pattern of teaching to which you were entrusted.
Freed from sin, you have become slaves of righteousness.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 124:1B-3, 4-6, 7-8

R. (8a) Our help is in the name of the Lord.
Had not the LORD been with us,
let Israel say, had not the LORD been with us–
When men rose up against us,
then would they have swallowed us alive;
When their fury was inflamed against us.
R. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
Then would the waters have overwhelmed us;
The torrent would have swept over us;
over us then would have swept the raging waters.
Blessed be the LORD, who did not leave us
a prey to their teeth.
R. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
We were rescued like a bird
from the fowlers’ snare;
Broken was the snare,
and we were freed.
Our help is in the name of the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
R. Our help is in the name of the Lord.

Gospel
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.”