FREE AND VIGILANT
Paul, in the Letter to the Ephesians, speaks of the grace given him of preaching the good news of Christ to gentiles, so that they could share in the mystery of Christ.
In the Gospel, Luke speaks of the vigilance of Christians and their leaders. They are responsible for the grace and the talents God has given them. And, says Jesus, the more has been given to us, the more is expected of us, the more we have to be responsible for those entrusted to us.
Our God and Father,
in the generosity of your creative imagination
you distribute among people
a variety of gifts and talents
of mind and heart and grace.
Convince us, Lord, that what we have received,
we have received for others,
that if we have been given more,
we are not greater or better,
only responsible for more.
Help us to use what we are and have
in the service of others.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!
(Partially based on a text by Helder Camara)
1 Reading: Ephesians 3:2-12
Brothers and sisters: You have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for your benefit, namely, that the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly earlier. When you read this you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to human beings in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy Apostles and prophets by the Spirit, that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same Body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel. Of this I became a minister by the gift of God’s grace that was granted me in accord with the exercise of his power. To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for all what is the plan of the mystery hidden from ages past in God who created all things, so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the Church to the principalities and authorities in the heavens. This was according to the eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness of speech and confidence of access through faith in him.
Responsorial Psalm ISAIAH 12:2-3, 4BCD, 5-6
R. (cf. 3) You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
God indeed is my saviour;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
With joy you will draw water
at the fountain of salvation. R.
Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name. R.
Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement;
let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
for great in your midst
is the Holy One of Israel! R.
Alleluia Matthew 24:42A, 44
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
For you do not know when the Son of Man will come.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Luke 12:39-48
Jesus said to his disciples: “Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Then Peter said, “Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?” And the Lord replied, “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? Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so. Truly, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, to eat and drink and get drunk, then that servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish the servant severely and assign him a place with the unfaithful. That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly. Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”
Paul takes up once again this mystery of God that has been concealed from the ages and made known only in these final days in a special revelation made to the apostle. At the heart of this revelation is the realization that the Gentiles are now partners with the Jews. They are members of the same body and co-partners of the gospel message in Christ Jesus.
The Gospel today speaks at length of Christian stewardship. Paul realizes that, by God’s grace, he, the very least of all the holy ones, was given the charge of bringing this message to the Gentile world. This was the eternal purpose of God, which has now been actualized in the redemptive mission of Christ himself. Through faith in Christ, Paul has found boldness of speech and confidence of access in his proclamation of this great message.
We know from his own writings that Paul experienced many trials in his proclamation of the good news. And yet it was with boundless energy that he continued his mission. We can only pray that in the discharge of our own stewardship we will remain faithful and that the Master upon his return will find us joyfully continuing our mission. The prophet exhorts us today to make known the great deeds of God among all the nations. To proclaim the word is a great challenge and a great joy.
– That the Church may bring the light of faith where there is darkness and indifference, hope where there is fatalism and despair, and love where there is hatred and strife, we pray:
– That those who are discouraged by trials and by their troubles and fears may keep believing and hoping in a God who brings everything to a good end, we pray:
– That all of us may grow in the certainty that our commitment to justice and love and our dedicated service in life are needed to help God’s promises come true, we pray:
Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God,
let these signs of bread and wine
express that we are willing
to serve you and people
in responsible freedom.
Let your Son share with us
his strength and loyalty,
to make us wise and faithful stewards
of the message of justice and love
entrusted to us by Jesus Christ,
your Son and our Lord for ever. Amen!
Prayer after Communion
Lord our God,
to let us know that you expect of us
more than we are capable of,
you have given us again
the word and body of your Son.
Help us to live according to the gospel
as people set free by Jesus
and responsible with him
for the progress in this world
of integrity and love.
We ask you this through Christ our Lord. Amen!
“From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required,” says Jesus. We have received much from God, our faith, our capacity to love, pardon of our sins. Let us thank the Lord and ask for the blessing of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!