1 Thessalonians 3:7-13
Ps 90:3-5a, 12-14, 17
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:ccc.usccb.org/cccradio/NABPodcasts/17_08_31.mp3
A reading from the Holy Gospel according Matthew
Jesus said to his disciples:
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
Be sure of this: if the master of the house
had known the hour of night when the thief was coming,
he would have stayed awake
and not let his house be broken into.
So too, you also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.
“Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant,
whom the master has put in charge of his household
to distribute to them their food at the proper time?
Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so.
Amen, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property.
But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is long delayed,’
and begins to beat his fellow servants,
and eat and drink with drunkards,
the 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 hypocrites,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”
Good News Reflection:
“Stay awake!” says Jesus in today’s Gospel reading. Awake and alert: This has to be our mode of everyday operation, our lifestyle, if we’re to be the Lord’s good and faithful people.
Zzzzzzzz …. … … many Christians are sleep-walking. How does that happen?
Being awake and alert requires paying attention to how well our behaviors match what we profess to believe. For example, in every Sunday Mass we recite that we believe in “ONE … church”, but we don’t really believe it if we’re divisive in our dealings with others in the Body of Christ. Are we building parish turfdoms (“my ministry is my turf, so stick with your own work and don’t give me your suggestions”)? Do priests collaborate with lay people or do they try to control them? Do Catholic organizations see each other as competitors or as partners?
Saint Paul prays in today’s first reading “May the Lord help you to overflow with love for one another and for all.” This is what keeps us awake. The moment we replace love with something else (apathy, control, disrespect, prejudice, verbal or any other kind of abuse, unforgiveness, self-righteousness, etc.), we become groggy. The alpha waves take over our spiritual brain. We dream that our way is the right way and, as in any nighttime dream, we think it’s real — until we awaken.
What happens when the alarm clock rings while we’re dreaming? We’re startled and we don’t feel happy about it. We punch the “off” button and try to go back to sleep.
What happens when we’re deep asleep in the darkness of the night and someone turns on a light and says, “Wake up!” We groan and growl: “Turn off that light!” At that moment, this person is our least favorite person in the whole world.
If you’re the one turning the light on people who don’t want to wake up, you’re being scolded and growled at. Continue to love them patiently. Keep the light on and quietly, faithfully continue to invite them to wake up. Show them by your own joy how to enjoy the reality of daylight. But don’t get in their face to bonk them on the head with an alarm clock, because they will bonk you back and make you dizzy with sleepiness.
As their grogginess wears off, they will either realize that you’re showing them the truth and they’ll embrace it, or they will roll over and bury themselves in the blankets again. Remember, you are not responsible for their sleepiness; you are only responsible for revealing the light.
Meanwhile, do whatever is necessary to keep yourself awake and alert, a faithful, far-sighted servant of the Lord. May our Lord Jesus strengthen your heart, making you blameless and holy before our God and Father!
Beloved Father: I beg You, may Your love produce faithfulness in me, and may my faithfulness to You be poured as true love onto my neighbors. Amen.
© 2017 by Terry A. Modica