Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, October 6
May Our Hearts Always Be Open to the Servant Model, Who Is Christ Jesus, and May Each of Us Live and Serve God and Neighbor Freely with Selfless Love and True Humility, in Imitation of the Self-Sacrificing Nature of God’s Love.
Every now and then, we come across a Biblical passage which causes us some consternation, anxiety or confusion. The end of today’s Gospel is such an example, “We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.”
For those of us who work hard to do the right thing, to be dutiful and responsible in all that we are asked, even when it costs us – as the old adage states – “our blood, sweat and tears”, it is not very amusing to be told that we ought to count ourselves as useless servants who only did our duty!
If that is what we hear our Lord saying in today’s parable, then we have missed the real intent or the point about what Jesus is actually saying – for He is not minimizing our efforts or our accomplishments. Jesus’ purpose is to underscore that, no matter how terrific we think we are, we can never earn or merit the wonderful gifts that God desires to freely give us – gifts which are a consequence of His Love for you and me.
On the surface, we probably feel that the master in today’s parable was unfair in compelling his servant to give more than what was expected. How many times have we heard, or maybe we have said it ourselves to others, “I will give only what is required and no more!” But when it comes to our relationship with God, who are we to say what is enough or what is too much?
Jesus used this parable of the dutiful servant to explain that we can never put God in our debt or make the claim that God owes us something! We must regard ourselves as God’s servants, just as Jesus came “not to be served, but to serve.” For Jesus Himself, the Incarnate Word, the Eternal Son of God, considered Himself as the Servant of servants, from whom you and I are expected to take our example.
When it came to the Cross, He never said, “Enough is enough!” Rather, He submitted Himself to all that the Father asked of Him. And He did so out of Divine Love – love for His Father and love for you and me.
Our service to God and to our neighbor is a sacred duty, and should also be a voluntary or free will act. For when it comes to serving the needs of our family and loved ones, and also serving the needs of our own soul, God prefers a willing heart, rather than fulfilling one’s responsibility out of a duty which we feel is owed.
And we see this example in the words which Paul wrote to
Timothy in today’s Second Reading, “For God did not give us a spirit of
cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord…but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.” And it was this example which Timothy was called to set for others who were following the Christian way of life.
For those of us who are old enough, I am sure many remember the draft system which existed in the United States, a form of lottery in which young men were required to serve in the Armed Forces, even if they objected or resisted.
Likewise, God expects both you and me to give Him the worship and praise which is His due. But, unlike the draft, He does not compel us to worship or serve Him. Instead, He happily accepts the free-will offering of our very lives – all that we think, all that we say and do – freely given to God so that His Divine will may be more fully realized though us.
What makes our offering pleasing to God, as opposed to an obligatory act of service, is the love we express in this gift of total self-giving of ourselves, for true love is sacrificial, generous, and totally selfless.
How can we love others selflessly and unconditionally? Scripture tells us that God Himself is Love, because He is the Author of life and Source of all relationships. He created us out of Eternal Love for the sake of love.
And when we empty from ourselves the pride and selfish feelings which can separate us from God, then He, in turn, fills our hearts with His boundless Love, enabling us to give of ourselves whatever is good and wholesome for the sake of someone else!
God honors the faithful servant who generously loves and serves others. And He is ever ready to work in and through us for His Glory. We must remember, however, that God can never be indebted to us, and we have no claim on Him or His graciousness.
When we hear our Lord saying, “We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do”, He is telling us that, in the act of fulfilling the exacting demands of our discipleship, we are only doing what God expects of us.
In other words, God made us for Himself, and our response to the gifts of life and our immortal soul should always be focused on acts of praise and thanksgiving, for we owe God everything! Even the crosses we bear are gifts from the treasury of God’s Love, for the crosses serve to sanctify us and make us worthy of the gift of eternal peace and joy which He offers!
And we are reminded of this fact which we find in our First Reading today from the Book of the Prophet Habakkuk, when the prophet questions God about His apparent slowness in responding to the evil and injustices which exist in Judean society.
God responds by explaining that Divine Justice is beyond
reproach and His plan is perfect and “…still has its time, presses on to
fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it,
it will surely come, it will not be late.”
And then God responds with a statement which each of us should take to heart, “The rash one has no integrity; but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.” In other words, perseverance in all that we endure and an unquestioning trust in God’s Divine Providence will attest to our faithfulness, and God will reward us for truly being “unprofitable servants” with the gift of eternal rest in His Kingdom.
In all that we experience throughout the course of our journey through this vale of tears, God truly knows how difficult life itself can seem to be on occasion, and the tribulations we sometimes experience in bearing the crosses we are given to carry. In the end, however, He just wants us to know that His deepest desire is to give us that greatest and most wondrous life to which He has called each of us – a share in His Eternal Glory.
In the faith which we profess, and in the discipleship which we live, God has given us the Servant Model we find in His Son Jesus – in the way we think, in the words we speak, and in the way we interact with one another in our daily relationships.
God is asking both you and me to freely give what is needed, not because we feel we must, but simply because it is a free-will offering from the treasury of our love – an offering which is pleasing and acceptable to the will of God in our lives.
May our hearts always be opened to the Servant Model, who is Christ Jesus! And may each of us live and serve God and neighbor freely with selfless love and true humility, in imitation of the self-sacrificing nature of God’s Love.
For, in the end, in the fullness of time known only to God, He will show us the graciousness of His will with the greatest of all gifts, when He invites us to “…abide with him in love: Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with the elect.”
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’” (Luke 17:10bc)
- “For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord…but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.” (2 Timothy 7-8)
- “Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” (Luke 6:38)
- “[Christ Jesus], though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8)
- “For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
- “[My plan] is a witness for the appointed time, a testimony to the end; it will not disappoint. If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late.” (Habakkuk 2:3)
- “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” (Matthew 10:8bc)
- “The rash one has no integrity; but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.” (Habakkuk 2:4)
- “…you are ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises’ of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were ‘no people’ but now you are God’s people; you ‘had not received mercy’ but now you have received mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10)
- “Those who trust in [God] shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love: Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with the elect.” (Wisdom 3:9)
Prayer for the Day
“Eternal Father in Heaven,
Ever-living Source of all that is good,
keep me faithful in serving You.
Help me to drink of Christ’s Truth,
and fill my heart with His Love,
so that I may serve You in faith and love
and reach the gift of eternal life.
“In the Sacrament of the Eucharist,
You give me the joy of sharing Your Life.
Keep me in Your Holy Presence; guide me in imitating
the holiness and life of selflessness shown to us
by Your Apostles and disciples in the early Church.
Let me never be separated from You
and help me to live Your holy will always. Amen.”Anonymous