Luke 12: 35 – 48
“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?” The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers. The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
In the absence of our teacher, us followers of Jesus are enjoined to be watchful and faithful. Having spent enough time with Jesus, his disciples know what is expected of them, know how to live, how to treat each other. But in what feels like an extended absence, it can be easy to revert to old ways, it can be easy to let the power of leadership corrupt. We are all too aware of priests and bishops in our church who have let power corrupt them, who have abandoned the spirit of humility and poverty that goes with following Jesus. In worldly institutions, this can become common place so that saintly leaders become the exception rather than the rule. But Jesus is stern with his beloved children, his disciples, really stern. For followers of Jesus, becoming a leader means that much more is expected of them than simply being a follower.
Leaders are to be the humblest servants of all. So, after accepting that responsibility, to drift
back towards the world has disastrous effects both on the shepherds/leaders and their sheep/followers. To the ones who have ears, let them hear.
Noon Day Prayers Question
Are you ready for your Master’s return?
Luke 12: 49 – 53
“I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
John the Baptist described Jesus as the one who would baptize with Spirit and with fire. Within the community of Jesus’ followers, for those on the path, being baptized in the Spirit leads to the fiery path of transformation in which we are individually purified of our old ways and habits. But when it comes to the crowds who followed him, when it comes to Jesus’ impact in the world, this fiery baptism leads to division, to distress and eventually to destruction of family ties. Those loyal to Jesus increasingly had to distance themselves from who they used to be, from what it meant to be part of their worldly family, community and church.
The question could be asked here, just how far are we expected to go for Jesus, just how radical is he calling us to be? Of coursed this is a confusing question in our post-Christian world cluttered with the debris and detris of shattered and dying churches, in which flickers here and there a bit of light. The first part of the baptism by fire and the Spirit is the purging of our worldly and dysfunctional habits and attitudes. But where do we look for models of how to live as Jesus would have us live? Allow Jesus and the Spirit to teach you during this Lent.
Radical is a “bad” word these days and a radical change in our life-styles and attitudes may not be welcomed amongst family members, our neighbours or churches. How do we respond to the one who introduced us to Abba, who removed all barriers from our close relationship to our creator, who loved all sinners, no matter how fallen? How do we respond to his heart-felt exclamation that he yearns for the completion of this fiery division of families and communities? How…?