Serving the in between: reflection

Holy-Face-of-Jesus-23The disciples of Jesus are to be ready to open to the Master “immediately when he comes.” The answer to Peter’s question (v. 41) directs the discourse toward the Christian leaders especially. The overriding image of authority in this text is one of service.  Something that Jesus applies in a special way to the Twelve as leaders of a restored Israel.  Where the servants are to stand in readiness for the return of the master, the stewards are responsible for their own work as well as that of the community as a whole.  The care of what has been entrusted foreshadows the parable of the sums of money (19:11–27). The sayings on the distribution of responsibilities or gifts in the concluding verse of the section are clearly pertinent for those in authority, but they have a wider application for all on whom spiritual and temporal gifts have been bestowed. Continue reading

Serving the in between: responsibility

Holy-Face-of-Jesus-23Failing in faithfulness.  45 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, 46 then that servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the unfaithful.

Jesus rounds off this section with a warning of the certainty of punishment for those who fail to do their duty (v.47). Verse 45 turns to consider the punishment to come for those who are not “faithful and prudent” while the master is away. If the master’s absence tempts the servant to say in his heart, “My master is delayed in coming,” he will be punished severely. But we should recall that Luke has established repeatedly that Jesus knows what is in a person’s heart—2:35; 5:22; 7:39ff.; 9:47; 24:38; Acts 1:24). Continue reading

Serving the in between: listening

Holy-Face-of-Jesus-23Who must listen? 41 Then Peter said, “Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?” Peter perhaps speaks for all the apostles when he asks about the parable. Peter’s question may be meant to raise the question of the privileges and responsibilities of the apostolate. It certainly has relevance to the work of the ministry, a topic that would have been important to Luke’s readers. Both the disciples and the crowd of thousands are introduced in 12:1. In 12:13–14 Jesus responds to a man from the crowd. The sayings introduced in v. 22 are directed to the disciples; therefore, Peter’s question in v. 41 asks for clarification regarding the intended audience, but Jesus answers with another parable. Jesus does not answer directly, but draws attention to the responsibility of all servants, stressing that the greater the privilege the greater the responsibility (v.48) Continue reading

Serving the in between: readiness

Holy-Face-of-Jesus-2335 “Gird your loins and light your lamps 36 and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. 37 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. 38 And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants. Continue reading

Serving the in between: context

Holy-Face-of-Jesus-2335 “Gird your loins and light your lamps 36 and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. 37 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. 38 And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants. 39 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. 40 You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Continue reading

Following Francis: The Exhortation to the Brothers

The small band of brothers living at Rivo Torto and later at the Porziuncula, were drawing others to their way of following Christ in the world.  And if they expected to find a uniform dress code, posted rules, a great deal of organization, a formation program, or even someone to sit them down and explain what was expected – they were in for a surprise. Francis assumed that his followers would learn by imitation. Giving them rules or structures to follow was not merely difficult for him, it went against the grain of the meaning of minority – to be the lesser brother. The new arrivals simply did what Francis did: daily prayer, work at a local leprosarium, go to local churches to participate in Eucharist, eat, pray again, witness to the local Umbrian people near Assisi, and live a life in community.  The brothers had to watch Francis closely and do their best to understand. Continue reading