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Wednesday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
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.”
Opening Prayer: Holy Spirit, enter into my heart and enlighten my conscience so that I can perceive your whispering voice.
- Trust: This parable displays a key fact about the essence of the church: Jesus, the master, has put the church in charge of his household until the day of his return, and he expects us to be “faithful and prudent stewards.” While this is true in the first place for the pope and the bishops, to whom the leadership of the church is entrusted, it casts light also on a fundamental truth of every Christian’s life: God trusts us. He trusts us to be faithful and prudent. We have the power to use our free will and direct our own lives as we wish, the power to shape the way we deal with each other, and the power to be stewards over nature as the home that he has created for us. How trustworthy are we?
- Faithfulness: The parable speaks of those who “knew the master’s will.” In order to respond faithfully to God’s trust, it is imperative that we know God’s will. To know God’s will is not always easy; and, in fact, Jesus emphasizes that there can be cases in which we are simply ignorant of what God wants from us. It is clear that, in such a situation, mistakes are far more forgivable. However, it is equally evident that true responsibility requires the genuine attempt to always discern what God’s will is. The Catholic spiritual teaching calls this “the formation of one’s conscience” (cf. 1783-1785). Prayer, spiritual reading, and regular spiritual direction can help us to form our consciences according to God’s will.
- Responsibility: Because God trusts us with so much, we have great responsibility. Within the word “responsibility” can be found the word “response.” Today’s parable is an unmistakable reminder to whom we will have to respond regarding the exercise of our power as individuals, as humanity, and as his church. How do we respond daily to Our Lord’s invitation to live according to his will, to love our neighbor as ourselves, and to be good stewards of all the gifts he has given to us?
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, thank you for your enormous trust in me. Help me to recognize your will better and better, and give me the strength to joyfully and responsibly fulfill my mission as a faithful and prudent steward.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will examine my conscience and look for a small thing which you would like me to correct in my daily life.
For Further Reflection: Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1783 and #1785:
“Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings.”
“In the formation of conscience the word of God is the light for our path; we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord’s cross. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others, and guided by the authoritative teaching of the church.”
Written by Father Gabriel von Wendt, LC