Homily for the nineteenth Sunday of the year - Year C - Lk. 12:32-48
Canon Dr. 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.» "
" «Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.» "
Jesus came to earth to proclaim to us the Good News of the Kingdom! And this good news is that the Kingdom of God is already here, in our hearts! The mission of Jesus, as well as that of his disciples who carry on the mission of the Teacher, is to say: "The kingdom of God has come near to you!" (Lk. 10:9) It is true that we don't see the Kingdom of God: we must believe, through the help of God's grace, that this Kingdom is already here. Yes, we are called to believe, until the end of our life, that the Kingdom of God is here! But this faith is a faith of adherence, a faith that touches its object, a faith through which the Kingdom of God penetrates all of our life; whereas the faith of those who awaited the Messiah was a faith of hope, a faith that could not yet attain the Kingdom because sin closed off access to it. The good news of the Kingdom is that the eternal life which had been promised by the Prophets is now given to us through faith. "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life." (John 6:47)
" «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.» "
What are we to fear if we are awake, if our faith is a vigilant faith? What are we to fear if we say what Blessed Elisabeth of the Trinity said when she prayed to the Lord: "Pacify my soul, make it into your heaven, your beloved home and your place of rest. May I never leave You there alone; instead, may I be wholly there, wholly awake in my faith, wholly adoring, wholly surrendered to your creative action." Yes, if we are awake, if we live the eternal life that is the very life of God, and therefore if we are vigilant in awaiting the return of the Lord, we should not fear his justice, but instead have confidence in his mercy: "Fear not, little flock..." If we are awake and if we await the return of the Lord from the marriage feast, then we can be happy, both in this life and in the next: "Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes."
" «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.» "
Would it be unjust to be punished if we don't await the Lord, if we don't live our faith as Jesus taught us through his Church? No, it would not be unjust, since we have been made aware of the will of the Teacher: to watch and pray! Let us remember the evening of Holy Thursday, when Jesus was in agony in the Garden of Gethsemane; after having prayed to his Father, Jesus "came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, «So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.» " (Mt. 26:40-41) Yes, it is necessary to watch, it is necessary to prepare ourselves to meet the Lord! We have been made aware of this; let us not forget it! The life of a Christian is a life of faith, that is to say a life of knowledge, a knowledge that touches upon the very Mystery of God: "Father, said Jesus, ... this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." (John 17:3)
" «Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required.» "
Do not be terrified by this sentence spoken by the Lord! If God entrusts much to us, if he even entrusts himself to us by giving us all of himself in his Eucharist, then we have to fully entrust ourselves to God as well. If we entrust ourselves to God, the Lord himself will help us and we will accomplish that which he wants of us: "Fear not, little flock..." Let us therefore receive Jesus within ourselves with a great trust, let us go to meet the Lord: let us receive communion with a great faith and a great love! May the Most Holy Virgin Mary help us to entrust ourselves to God!