Jerusalem Bible © 1966 by Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd and Doubleday & Company Inc.
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘There is no need to be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom.
‘Sell your possessions and give alms. Get yourselves purses that do not wear out, treasure that will not fail you, in heaven where no thief can reach it and no moth destroy it. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
‘See that you are dressed for action and have your lamps lit. Be like men waiting for their master to return from the wedding feast, ready to open the door as soon as he comes and knocks. Happy those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. I tell you solemnly, he will put on an apron, sit them down at table and wait on them. It may be in the second watch he comes, or in the third, but happy those servants if he finds them ready. You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what hour the burglar would come, he would not have let anyone break through the wall of his house. You too must stand ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’
Peter said, ‘Lord, do you mean this parable for us, or for everyone?’ The Lord replied, ‘What sort of steward, then, is faithful and wise enough for the master to place him over his household to give them their allowance of food at the proper time? Happy that servant if his master’s arrival finds him at this employment. I tell you truly, he will place him over everything he owns. But as for the servant who says to himself, “My master is taking his time coming,” and sets about beating the menservants and the maids, and eating and drinking and getting drunk, his master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know. The master will cut him off and send him to the same fate as the unfaithful.
The servant who knows what his master wants, but has not even started to carry out those wishes, will receive very many strokes of the lash. The one who did not know, but deserves to be beaten for what he has done, will receive fewer strokes. When a man has had a great deal given him, a great deal will be demanded of him; when a man has had a great deal given him on trust, even more will be expected of him.’
Did you know?
Points of interest and Catholic lore
- According to Roman custom, a day was reckoned from midnight to midnight, and the night divided into four watches. Jewish custom was to reckon a day from sunset to sunset, and the night was divided into three watches.
- A Jewish wedding consisted of the groom going in procession to the home of the bride, where the wedding took place and a feast was held. After this celebration, the groom returned to his own home with his bride to begin their life together.
Exploring the Word
The longer version of today’s gospel opens with a sublime promise: ‘There is no need to be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom.’ There is such intimacy in these words, not only in the relationship of Jesus to his ‘little flock’ but in the promise of the kingdom given by the Father. This intimate relationship and promise do not take away our responsibility, however. On the contrary! Our response to this promise—whether we put our faith in it or whether we doubt it—will determine our response to the demands that Jesus makes of us: detachment from possessions, readiness for the Lord when he comes, and integrity of life. To us has been given a great deal, and a great deal will be demanded in return. We must be attentive to the requirements of the Master.
- What are some of the good things that you have been given in your life?
- In what concrete ways can you make yourself ready for the Lord?
Opportunities for group discussion and personal prayer
- Do you know what the Master wants but have difficulty carrying it out?
- Recall an occasion when you were found to be completely unprepared. What were the circumstances? What did you do? What was the outcome? Share your stories.
- At the end of each day, take some time to reflect on how well you lived the Gospel call. Resolve to be more attentive to preparing for what is to come, if that is necessary.
- Use an adaptation of a verse from today’s psalm as your prayer this week:
My soul is waiting for the Lord.
The Lord is my help and my shield.
May your love be upon me, O Lord,
as I place all my hope in you.
Sharing the tradition
A closer look at the Scripture of the day, to see how it makes more explicit God’s word to us through the teachings of Jesus Christ
Jesus promised that he would come again at the end of time and bring into being the new creation of God’s reign. The earliest church communities believed that the Second Coming would occur very soon, but as time passed, they modified this belief with the realisation that while they awaited Christ’s return in glory, they had to live the life of discipleship in the here and now. The Church today still holds this belief, and it is at the heart of our Creed: ‘He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.’ This expectation requires that we remain ready.
- Explore the idea of God’s reign already present through the death and resurrection of Jesus but not yet completed (see CCC, §668ff).
- Link the idea of making oneself ‘ready for the Lord’ to the catechumens’ approach to baptism. In what ways is their RCIA journey making them ‘ready for the Lord’?
Symbols and images
The imagery in this text of the vigilant servants who remain ready for their master’s return at any hour of the night reminds us to live expectantly and to be prepared for what is to come. Reflect on your journey towards Jesus so far. Are you now living expectantly as you prepare for what is to come?
Living the Word
Practical ideas for group leaders to employ in connecting Scripture and daily life, with suggestions for music and environment
- In what ways is your local community involved in the journey that the catechumens are undertaking? Are there ways in which the community can become more deeply a part of this journey? How can the journey of the catechumens enrich and deepen the faith life of others in the community?
- Pray for openness to God and a spirit of courage to respond to God’s call. Pray a prayer of thanks for the gift of the kingdom. Pray for each other. A suitable song could be ‘We walk in faith’ (GA 447). Conclude with the prayer of exorcism in the RCIAat §94F.