Today’s gospel is a difficult one on which to preach. It’s pretty demanding and can make us uncomfortable. That part about selling what we have, letting go of all we treasure and trusting in the coming kingdom of God doesn’t compute with our innate need for security. I read a bit of a commencement address titled, “Chase your passion not your pension.” The speaker advised the students, “If you chase money it may catch you and if it catches you, you’ll be forever its slave.” How much better will it be for all of us if we chased and are caught by God? We chase God and we are caught by God every time we try to be the person God calls us to be, we chase God every time we try live like Christ lives.
That part about the servants who fail to follow their Master’s wishes is something we might think about. Some say this part of Luke’s gospel, which was written about 50 years after the resurrection, was meant to apply to the leaders in the Christian community, leaders put in charge of the Master’s household, given the charge of caring for the community. We have those who followed the Master’s directions and we have those who didn’t, those who took advantage of the Master’s absence and abused their position and their authority over the community of faith.
In the history of the church we’ve always had examples of those entrusted with the household of the church community who have been faithful to the Master’s wishes and we’ve had those who have abused their position of authority. In our own time we’ve all been hurt and disappointed and embarrassed by the examples of sexual abuse and the cover up by those in authority. “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required, and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.”
One of the lessons we might learn from today’s demanding gospel is that our actions have consequences. Our actions, our lifestyles, our attitudes, the way we deal with other people all have consequences. Things come home to roost. If we abuse our bodies by over eating, over drinking, using drugs there will be consequences. Common sense tells us this.
If we are open to and accepting of different ways of thinking and living then the consequence is that we are enriched by a broader view of life and its variety – if we are closed minded we rob ourselves of a richer way of looking at life.
If we recognize the truth that God’s grace works in the lives of people and communities of faiths other than our own, the consequence is that we can come to acknowledge the goodness and holiness in these faith communities. If we believe we have a corner on the truth, we have all the answers, we have a corner of God, then we deny ourselves exposure to the rich traditions of other faith communities
If we stereotype men and women of other cultures, if we speak despairingly of ‘these people’ then we lock ourselves into ignorance of cultures older than our own and we are diminished.
The signs of the times, the changing weather patterns around the globe, the desertification of soil, the destruction of rain forests, the pollution of lakes, the poisoning of the very air we breathe, the diminishment of the cod and salmon and other species, all these facts of life tell us that our consumerism, our gauging of earth’s resources is having consequences on the life systems that maintain the health of Earth. The way we live on Earth will impact us, for the earth does not belong to us, we belong to the earth and what we do to the earth we do to ourselves and isn’t that the truth?
We are a blessed people, blessed with faith, family and friends. We live in a blessed land. The Master of the household of creation has entrusted these blessings to each of us. It is best we remember, “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required.” As we continue to celebrate this Mass may we be graced to appreciate these blessings and use them wisely so that at the Master’s return He may see in each of us a good and faithful servant, worthy of our Master’s love and praise.