The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2014, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
What lesson can we draw from Jesus’ parable about a thief in the night and the parable about the master of the household who surprises his stewards with an unexpected visit? Both parables confront us with the possibility of losing everything we presently own and treasure and losing our the future inheritance as well.
The thief in the night
Jesus’ story (parable) of the thief in the night brings home the necessity for constant watchfulness and being on guard to avert the danger of plunder and destruction, especially under the cover of darkness and secrecy! While no thief would announce his intention in advance, nor the time when he would strike, lack of vigilance would nonetheless invite disaster for those who are unprepared to keep their treasure and their lives secure at all times! The intruder strikes when he is least expected! What treasure does the Lord expect us to vigilantly guard in this present life? It is the treasure of the gifts he has won for us – the gift of salvation purchased by his blood on the cross which has ransomed us from slavery to sin, Satan,and death – and the gift of his Holy Spirit who works in and through us to make us a a new creation refashioned in the image of God. The Father and the Son through the gift of the Holy Spirit come to make their home with us. But we can ignore their presence, close our ears to their voice, or reject them through pride and unfaithfulness. Satan comes like a thief in the night to rob us of our faith and to draw us away from God. He works with the world (that society which is opposed to God) and with our flesh (our sinful inclinations) to make us believe that we can find treasure and happiness apart from God and his will for our lives. And we can deceive ourselves by putting off for tomorrow what must be done today. God offers us grace today to turn away from sin and rebellion. We must not presume that we can wait another day. The day of the Lord – when he returns again at the end of this present world – will come like a thief. We need to be spiritually alert and watchful at all times. The Lord comes to us – each and every day – to draw us to himself and to strengthen us in faith, hope, and love. The faithful and wise servant Jesus ends his teaching on watchfulness and vigilance with another parable about a master and his servants (Matthew 24:.45-49). The storyline is similar. There is an element of surprise – the master suddenly returns home unexpectedly, probably from a long journey. He rewards one servant for his faithfulness to his master. He has performed his service dutifully and has done all that the master required of him. He punishes the other servant who behaved wickedly. This servant was not only irresponsible – he was frequently absent from work and spent his master’s money by partying (eating and drinking) a lot with his friends. The wicked servant also abused his fellow workers with physical force and violence – probably to make them do the work he was supposed to do for his master. The master not only throws him out of his house (he fires him from his job!). He also throws him into the worst possible place – a prison of no return where there is nothing but torment and misery. Should we be surprised to see the master acting with such swift judgment? He rewards faithfulness with honor, blessing, and promotion, and he punishes unfaithfulness due to laziness and abuse with demotion, dishonor, and imprisonment. The Lord Jesus calls us to be vigilant in watching for his return and to be ready to meet him when he calls us to himself. The Lord gives us his Holy Spirit so that we may have the wisdom, help, and strength we need to turn away from sin to embrace God’s way of love, justice, and holiness. The Lord’s warning of judgment causes dismay for those who are unprepared, but it brings joyful hope to those who eagerly wait for his return in glory. God’s judgment is good news for those who are ready to meet him. Their reward is God himself, the source of all truth, beauty, goodness, love and everlasting life. Lord Jesus, you have captured my heart for you. Make it strong in faith, steadfast in hope, and generous in love that I may seek to please you in all things and bring you glory. Keep me ever watchful for the coming of your kingdom.
The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2014. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com
MORE “When much has been given a man, much will be required of him. More will be asked of a man to whom more has been entrusted.” Luke 12:48 Jesus spoke the above words to St. Peter and the apostles. We might not be expected to perform the works of St. Peter, but none of us are off the hook when it comes to serving the Lord. As Catholics, we have received the sacraments of Baptism, Communion, and Confirmation. We’ve heard the message of salvation. As the song says, “We have been told” about Jesus, and His cross, death, and resurrection. We’ve received Jesus into our very bodies in the Eucharist. We have been privileged to read and hear the sacred Scriptures, revealed directly from God in heaven. We’ve received the Holy Spirit and His gifts. Look how much we have received! God would not be just if He did not expect a fruitful harvest in return for His freely given gifts (see Mt 25:14-30; Lk 12:46-48). What boss would not demand a good job from an employee He had trained so thoroughly? Let us give our lives in service to the Lord not grudgingly, but cheerfully and bountifully (2 Cor 9:6-7). Though we must bear a harvest, we are not God’s employees or slaves; we are His children! (Rm 8:15) Jesus even calls us His friends (Jn 15:15). Can you imagine how fervently the Lord longs to entrust “all His property” (Lk 12:44), the earth and its people, to His disciples? If we disciples of Jesus do not step forward to care for God’s property, we are handing control to those motivated only by greed, selfishness, or power. Jesus expects “more” from us. Step up and get to work. Prayer: Jesus, so often I only think of pleasing myself. Transform my mind to think only of pleasing You (Ps 104:34). Promise: “In Christ and through faith in Him we can speak freely to God, drawing near Him with confidence.” Eph 3:12 Praise: Jesus delivered Robert from a life of selling and abusing drugs. (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.) Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2014 through November 30, 2014.Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 24, 2014. The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements