by Fr. Tommy Lane
“Be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will return.” (Luke 12:40) For us, it is not that we want to be ready just in case the Son of Man comes today like a thief breaking into a house; rather for us it is a joy to be ready in case the Son of Man comes today because there is no other way to live today that would give us such joy. In the parable today (Luke 12:42-48) Jesus declares “blessed” the servant who was placed in charge of other servants and was attending to his duties when his master returned. He was blessed not because he just happened to be about his duties coincidentally at the very time his master returned but because he was always about his duties. That is why Jesus describes him as “faithful and prudent.” (Luke 12:42) It did not matter whether his master might return today or in a month or a year. That servant knew there was only thing that would bring him happiness, and that was being faithful and prudent, always doing his duties as a servant in charge of other servants. He was always faithful and so he was blessed.
In the first reading (Eph 3:2-12; Year 2), Paul is deeply conscious that he is a servant over other servants, that he is to share with the Gentiles the mystery of Christ. He has been assigned, as he says, stewardship of God’s grace (Eph 3:2) and he describes his responsibility as a gift of God’s grace (Eph 3:7). His duty as a servant over other servants is to preach to them what he calls “the inscrutable riches of Christ.” (Eph 3:8) For Paul, being faithful brought struggles and trials and eventual martyrdom but it was also pure joy because he discovered the riches of Christ and discovered that those riches are inscrutable, unsearchable, and unfathomable, without end. In the words of the response to the Psalm today, Paul was drawing water joyfully from the springs of salvation and discovering those springs are without end. Already in this life through his faithfulness, Paul was experiencing something of the blessedness of the next life and was receiving more and more of the riches of Christ. Saints John de Brébeuf, Isaac Jogues and Companions (Memorial October 19th) also discovered the inscrutable riches of Christ and were faithful and prepared on the day the Son of Man came for them.
When one is entering more every day into the inscrutable riches of Christ and drawing water joyfully from the wells of salvation, the day when the Son of Man comes, the day when we pass from this life to the next life, is not really a rupture but going to experience even more of those riches of Christ and draw even more from the well of salvation. “Be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will return.” (Luke 12:40) For us, it is not that we want to be ready just in case the Son of Man comes today like a thief breaking into a house; rather for us it is a joy to be ready today because there is no other way to live today that would give us such joy. On that day when the Son of Man comes for us, please God he will find us faithful and prudent, so that passing to the next life will not be a rupture but going to experience even more of the “riches of Christ.” (Eph 3:8)
© Fr. Tommy Lane 2016