Homily for the nineteenth Sunday of the year - Year C - Lk. 12:32-48


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

" 'Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms; provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.'


" 'Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the marriage feast, so that they may open to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes; truly, I say to you, he will gird himself and have them sit at table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those servants! But know this, that if the householder had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. You also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an unexpected hour.'


"Peter said, 'Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?' And the Lord said, 'Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that servant says to himself, "My master is delayed in coming," and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, 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 does not know, and will punish him, and put him with the unfaithful.'


" 'And that servant who knew his master's will, but did not make ready or act according to his will, shall receive a severe beating. But he who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, shall receive a light beating. Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more.' "





Homily:


" 'Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.' "


Today's Gospel begins with some of the most beautiful of Jesus' words: "Fear not, little flock... " What love, what tenderness in these few words! "Fear not... " Jesus knows how wounded the spirit of man has been ever since the Original Sin: immoderate fear of God has invaded the human soul since the baneful moment of the first sin of mankind... For this first sin caused man to know the fear of God, a fear that, though it is justified due to the culpability of man, is a disproportionate fear, a fear stirred up by the devil: "The Lord God called to the man, and said to him, 'Where are you?' And he said, 'I heard the sound of thee in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.' " (Gn. 3:9-10)


In order for man to no longer have a disproportionate fear of God, and to have only a respectful and filial fear, God humbled himself to man by sending him his own Son: "Though he was in the form of God, he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men." (Phil. 2:6-7) In Jesus, God makes himself our servant: he takes care of us through his Divine Providence, he shows us the way to Heaven, he gives us already a foretaste of his Kingdom! "... for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."


" 'Sell your possessions, and give alms; provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.' "


If God is at our service, what could be better than for us to also place ourselves at his service? For if we do not, could God not accuse us of being ungrateful to him? Some will say: Certainly, but why does God involve himself in our life? Couldn't he leave us alone? Indeed, many people today live without paying much attention to God. Why bother with God? The world and its riches seem to be enough to make them happy, or at least that is how it seems to them... In fact, this is an illusory happiness, a fraud, like a drug... Money, material goods, the pleasure of the senses, lust, all these things lead the men and women of our time to the greatest madness: that of the glorification of "me"!


To escape from this, there is but one solution: the life of the Gospel, the life of service to others, the life of service to God for the salvation of the world! What will we have done with our life if we haven't used it to serve God? Where have we put our treasure? Have we put it in the banknotes kept in our safe, the bricks that make up our house, or in our beautiful brand new car? Let us consider this! Have we truly decided to place ourself at the service of God? Let us look at our Crucifix, and listen to Saint Paul: "And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross." (Phil. 2:7-8)


Let us follow the Lord's advice: "Sell your possessions, and give alms; provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." What prevents us from serving God is our attachment to creatures, and especially to our self!


" 'Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the marriage feast, so that they may open to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes; truly, I say to you, he will gird himself and have them sit at table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those servants! But know this, that if the householder had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. You also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an unexpected hour.' "


God humbled himself first, for he first loved us: "We love, for he first loved us." (1 Jn. 4:19) If, then, we humble ourselves before God by serving him with all our soul, with all our strength, with all our love, then, at the end, our reward will be the Feast with God, in eternal face-to-face conversation with God, who will have lifted us up to him in glory without end! "Truly, I say to you, he will gird himself and have them sit at table, and he will come and serve them." Already, today, this can become reality! For, we shall soon be invited to the Eucharistic Table, where the Lord makes himself our servant: the fact that Jesus is present among us under the appearances of food and drink is a sign of his service on our behalf; and our faith in He whom we do not see is, on our part, the sign of our service to heavenly God, the Lord of Lords!


"Peter said, 'Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?' And the Lord said, 'Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that servant says to himself, "My master is delayed in coming," and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, 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 does not know, and will punish him, and put him with the unfaithful.' "


Peter then puts a question to Jesus: "Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?" The Lord replies with another parable... In fact, among the disciples of Christ, who is more a "servant" than Peter himself? The Pope, the Successor of Peter, does he not proclaim himself the "Servant of the Servants of God"? For there truly needs to be an order and a hierarchy in the Church. All Christians, servants of God and of each other, must live in a certain harmony, as perfect it can be. This supposes that certain "servants" are the superiors of other "servants", something that is not without danger... Thus, these superiors must take care to fulfill their mission with wisdom and moderation, in order to prevent their mission as superiors from overwhelming their mission as servants. Thus, the greatest of these superiors, the Pope, wants to proclaim himself, and to truly be, the "Servant of the Servants of God"!


" 'And that servant who knew his master's will, but did not make ready or act according to his will, shall receive a severe beating. But he who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, shall receive a light beating. Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more.' "


Although this last saying of the Lord applies to all those who have received a charge in the Church, it may also be applied to all those who received special graces and particular favors for the good of the entire Church - notably, the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. She who became the Mother of God received an incomparable grace, but a grace which led her to call herself, in all humility, the "handmaid of the Lord" (Lk. 1:38). Mary faithfully bore witness to this grace throughout her life on earth, but especially at the foot of the Cross, where, truly, the Lord required "much" of her... "Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required."


Let us pray to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, in order that she might make us true servants of God! Amen!



To order the weekly homily immediately, click here