“Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival”
The other day when I was driving down a major street, I spotted a police officer step from behind a bush and hold up a radar gun to monitor oncoming traffic. Instinctively I tapped the brake then checked the speedometer and realized that:
•My speed was fine
•If I had been speeding, it would have been too late to do anything about it
Today’s passage from Luke about being a vigilant servant resonates with this scene – both my long-discarded images of God as a divine traffic cop trying to catch us committing a sin and the happy realization that my speed was fine.
Growing up, I knew quite a few people who feared going to hell for things like inadvertently eating meat on Friday. What if they forgot to ask if the clam chowder contained bacon and it did? Could they finish lunch or should they waste good food? Or they would go to Mass on Sunday even if they risked exposing half the church to a raging virus. Such people were certainly “vigilant” but they also turned God into an ogre who must have been very difficult to love.
As a spirit of the law kind of gal, I think that Jesus is asking us to be vigilant by continually evaluating how well we are living out the central principles of the Gospel. Jesus was no hair splitter but he asks a lot of us – big things like taking care of the poor and the oppressed and trying to forgive those who have wronged us.
Jesus knows how we all struggle with our favorite sins but I suspect that as long as we continue to struggle and at least try to do better, we’ll find that our master is a loving God who says in effect that “your speed is fine.”