19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus tells us this Sunday; “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”. This raises the question, of what good is treasure on earth? If our treasure is here on earth our hearts will be here rather than on the things of heaven. Ultimately this is no good for us because heaven is our destination, our most important journey. However, does having treasure here on earth really do us any good or are we truly satisfied with it. If we have a lot of money, are we ever satisfied that we have enough? Those who are satisfied with their wealth are those who do not focus on material things. Can money buy love? Love is not limited by the material world and is not explained by it. What about possessions? How long does the latest fashion or gadget last before they lose their lustre. The fact that material things do not really satisfy us or don’t satisfy us for very long, tells us something about ourselves. This means that what truly satisfies us is not material.
This is why Jesus tells us to place our treasure in heaven. This treasure will not decay like all the things we see here on earth. In heaven it is God who will satisfy us and make us happy. This happiness will not pass away. The happiness that Jesus wishes to give us in heaven is for those servants in the Gospel “who the master finds awake when he comes”. What will the master do when he finds his servants ready and waiting for him? One would expect the master to sit down and eat what is prepared for him. This is not Jesus says will happen. The master in this Gospel is meant to remind us of the true master who is Jesus. One could ask what would we do if Jesus came to visit us at this moment? We would probably expect to do something to serve Him and make Him comfortable even if we were truly at a loss about what to do. The master in this Gospel does something quite different. He “will put on an apron, sit them down at table and wait on them”. This is the
action of the true master – Jesus – at the Last Supper washed the feet of the disciples. It is Jesus Who will look after us in heaven and be the cause of our happiness.
However, Jesus also warns us that we do not know when the Son of Man will come to knock at our door. This has been understood by the saints in two senses. First, we do not know the date of His second coming, which will herald the last judgement. Secondly, this warning is deeply personal to us, for we will meet the Son of Man when we die, and nobody knows the time of their death. This is why it is important to be vigilant at all times for one could die at any moment. Let us not be like the servant who says; “the master is taking his time coming”. Rather, let us be like the servants “waiting for the master to return from the wedding feast, ready to open the door as soon as he comes and knocks”.
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “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.