Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

First Reading
Wisdom 18:6-9
The Hebrew people awaited the salvation of the just.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 33:1,12,18-22
Happy the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

Second Reading
Hebrews 11:1-2,8-19
We will look for the city designed and built by God.

Gospel Reading
Luke 12:32-48
You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.

Background on the Gospel Reading

Jesus’ instructions on how to be ready for the coming judgment continue in the stories and sayings found in today’s Gospel. We are not to be like the greedy rich man in last Sunday’s Gospel who planned to store his great harvest in barns rather than share it. We are, rather, to share our wealth with those in need. The antidote for the anxiety brought on by the coming judgment is to relinquish our possessions and provide for the needs of others. Our treasure will be in heaven where it will not wear out or be destroyed.

The other major way to be ready for the coming judgment is to be watchful. In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus tells a parable about watchfulness to begin making this point. We must be like servants waiting for the master’s return from a wedding banquet, which, even now, can last for a few days in the Middle East. We must be watchful so that even if the master comes after midnight, we will be ready for him. This is what the coming of the Son of Man will be like.

Peter asks if this parable is meant for the apostles or for the large crowd that has gathered to listen to Jesus. Without answering Peter’s question, Jesus responds with another parable about servants awaiting the return of their master. It begins with a question: “Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute the food allowance at the proper time?” This parable adds to the theme of watchfulness; it explains how to wait and reminds us of the reward for the faithful follower at the heavenly banquet after the judgment. If it is addressed to the apostles, then it could also be addressed to leadership in the early Church. Either way, the parables reminds us that we should be found doing our jobs when the master arrives. If we are doing our jobs, our reward will be great. But if we relax, neglect our duties, and begin to act like the greedy rich man—eating, drinking, and making merry—we will not have a place in the kingdom. Watchfulness means living in such a consistently moral and obedient way that we are always ready to give an account to God of how we have lived.-loyolaprress.com

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