In many movies we see the youth getting away with throwing a party while the parents are gone. The party gets out of control and the house is trashed. The parents, who were supposed to be gone a set number of days or hours, for some reason come home early. Somehow the kids get everything cleaned up as if by magic before they arrive. In the movies this seems to work so well that the parents are none the wiser to what has happened in their home while they are away. In real life? Well, it doesn’t ever seem to work out that way.
In this day and age our lives are highly scheduled and our lives filled with digital communication. Not only do our kids know when we are supposed to be home, but they often receive a text on the way or a phone call from the car. With all of this information we humans tend to be less ready for the arrival, not more. We get distracted by all the things that are bombarding us and instead of doing that which we know to do? We end up ‘shinied’. Distracted. Unable to focus on what needs to be finished. The parents arrive and not only aren’t the kids finished? They haven’t started. In this case it’s not just the kids, but the parents too. We know someone is coming over and we meant to clean, but the show was on… or we should have gone to confession… but the game was on… We schedule to do things, but then we find other things to do and forget the schedule.
The thing we lose about this Gospel parable in today’s modern age is exactly how hard it is to be ready for the Master when he returns. Jesus talks of a man coming back from a wedding to find his servant up and waiting. The servant’s just doing what he should be doing right? It’s what he is for. He’s not doing something extraordinary on the surface, he’s just serving his Master by being ready for his return. When will the master be back? Now that’s the hard part. Weddings in first century Palestine were not like they are today. They were an involved affair! Taking several days, a week or more! The servant couldn’t possibly stay up the entire time, could he? How diligent would he have to be to be ready and waiting for the Master’s return? Unlike us He wasn’t going to receive a text or phone call during the week to say “I’ll be back on Friday!”
I believe that the readings for today are a call to Stewardship and preparedness. They remind us of what Pope Francis was trying to teach us in Ladauto Si. We have been given charge of a home, a place to keep up and take care of. We aren’t doing a very good job of that. Not just creation, which I am a big proponent of, but also our selves and each other. The Master has given us signs of his return, but informed us that no one, not even Jesus himself, knows the day of His return.. only the Father. So we must be diligent. We must be ready for Him at any time. Like the servant in the parable, are we awake? Do we take care of the world we are given? Our own bodies that are temples of the Holy Spirit? Others that we encounter during the day? As my friend always says, “Get ready, be ready, stay ready.”
His servant and yours,
“He must increase, I must decrease.”