Posted August 11, 2013 by FLL Editorial Team in
 
 

Vigilant and Faithful Servants

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.”
Luke 12:32-48

The parable relates to all the faithful in common, but now hear what suits the Apostles and teachers. For where will be found the steward that possesses in himself faithfulness and wisdom? For as in the management of goods, whether a man be careless yet faithful to his master, or else wise yet unfaithful, the things of the master perish; so also in the things of God there is need of faithfulness and wisdom. There have been many servants of God, and faithful men, who because they were unable to manage ecclesiastical affairs, have destroyed not only possessions, but souls, exercising towards sinners indiscreet virtue by extravagant rules of penance or unseasonable indulgence.

Whosoever then has been found a faithful and wise steward, let him bear rule over the Lord’s household that He may give them their portion of meat in due season, either the word of doctrine by which their souls are fed, or the example of works by which their life is fashioned. Or, he will make him ruler over all that he has, not only over His own household, but that earthly things as well as heavenly shall obey him. As it was with Joshua the son of Nun, and Elias; and all the Saints as God’s friends use the things of God.

But our Lord leads the hearer to correction not only by the honors kept in store for the good, but by threats of punishment upon the bad, as it follows, “But if that servant shall say in his heart, ‘My Lord delays his coming.'” God will cut him in sunder, by separating him from the communion of the faithful, and dismissing him to those who have never attained to the faith. Hence it follows, “And will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers”; for he who has no care for his own and those of his own house, has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. For all things are not judged alike, but greater knowledge is an occasion of greater punishment. Therefore shall the Priest, committing the same sin with the people, suffer a far heavier penalty.

References:
Catena Aurea (St. Thomas Aquinas)
Explanations on the New Testament (St. Theophylact of Ochrid)
On the Gospel of Luke (St. Bede the Venerable)
Homily 26 on Matthew (St. John Chrysostom)
Homily 27 on Matthew (St. John Chrysostom)


FLL Editorial Team