USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.
Jesus said to the Apostles:
“Who among you would say to your servant
who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field,
‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’?
Would he not rather say to him,
‘Prepare something for me to eat.
Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink.
You may eat and drink when I am finished’?
Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?
So should it be with you.
When you have done all you have been commanded, say,
‘We are unprofitable servants;
we have done what we were obliged to do.'”
Good News Reflection:
Because we love Jesus, we want to please him. We certainly don’t want to be “unprofitable” (useless and unproductive) like the servants he describes in today’s Gospel reading. How profitable are you in the mission he has given you — the calling to continue his mission here on earth in the circumstances of your own life?
Why isn’t it good enough for Jesus when we do “all you have been commanded”? To be use-full, we have to do more than our duty, more than what’s expected of us — like Jesus did. We have to do more than the minimum requirements in the parish, in the home, in the workplace, and in the world community.
Mediocrity is not the hallmark of a truly alive Christian. In fact, I would dare say that mediocrity is a sin, because we should always (always always!) be giving God our very best efforts.
In today’s responsorial Psalm, we promise to bless the Lord at all times. What does this mean? How does one bless the Lord; is it by saying, “I bless you, God”? Like HE needs our blessing. Ri-i-i-ght.
We bless God by going the extra mile for him. How can we be a blessing to him if we settle for the mediocre instead of excelling and doing the very best that we can with everything he’s given us? He has gone that extra mile for us; oh how we pain him when we don’t even try to do the same for him!
Consider, for example, how much we put into the parish collection basket. Are we obeying the minimum scriptural requirement here (10% of all income) or even close to that much? A couple of dollars does not bless the Lord unless our income was less than twenty dollars that week.
Are we going to Mass only as an insurance policy to protect ourselves from punishment and hell? That’s not blessing the Lord. Are we in marriages that have not been sacramentalized by the Church because we don’t want to put forth the effort to do whatever must be done to receive the Sacrament? That’s not blessing the Lord.
In parish ministries, are we doing only what must get done, ignoring the needs of those who don’t fit nicely inside our policies and procedures? Are our parish events and projects done without a spirit of evangelization? If so, we’re only doing our duty — and Jesus says we’re useless.
The Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity (of Vatican Council II) says: ” … the member [of the Church] who fails to make his proper contribution to the development of the Church must be said to be useful neither to the Church nor to himself” (paragraph 2).
Being a blessing to the Lord means that we’re so excited about what he has done for us that we feel like we will never be able to do enough for him. This feeling of holy frustration motivates us to serve above and beyond the call of duty. This divine dissatisfaction is what transforms us from useless servants to friends of Jesus who reach our full earthly potential.
As useful servants, we want to make a difference in this world for the kingdom of God. We want to serve his kingdom until our dying breath and even after we die! And so, in heaven, we’ll continue the ministries of love that we started while we lived on the earth. (What, you thought “resting in peace” meant floating around on a cloud with nothing to do? How boring!)
My Lord: Give me a clear understanding of my duty towards others and the humbleness I need to remember it throughout all my life. Amen.
© 2017 by Terry A. Modica