There are implications to any relationship and true freedom consists in faithfully
living those implications. We are encouraged in today’s liturgy to allow
our beliefs, our dogmas, our traditions to be incarnated, in fleshed by the
We are invited to reflect and pray with our being God’s little flock with
Jesus as the shepherd. The implications of this are to trust that our real
treasure is in the life after the shepherd comes again. We are to have a
relationship with money and all possessions which reflect our belief in the
goodness of this life’s being a prelude to the goodness of the next. Implications
bring out our fears and resistances.
We are praying with our fears and God’s invitations. We are servants called
to live in preparation for eternal life by living faithfully each present
moment. The freedom called for to live this way is found in the teachings
of the Master of the house who loves his flock.
One of the wonderful ways of continuing family identity is to tell stories,
show pictures and relate how things were in the “good” or “bad” old days.
Even if they been told and shown many times before, there is a comfort of
re-membering with the characters and events of our formation.
With each telling a little varnish and garnish is added and the great events
are even more so and the lesser times and relatives tend to be shined up.
The Book of Wisdom has many aspects of a family album. We hear in our First
Reading a grandparent’s voice relating again for the zillionth time, one
moment in the tremendous history of God’s relationship with the people of
the Exodus, the Jewish nation. One can almost see the wide-eyed young Jewish
family-members hearing of the faith and courage of their captive ancestors.
The voice speaks directly to God in protest of faith and reminds God of the
goodness and love shown by the destruction of their enslaving foes. All listeners
are reminded that God glorified the nation Israel. Then there is a little
reminder to all listeners that as the ancient believers held fast to the
rituals and instructions of God, so too will they all remain in God’s love
by doing the same.
The Gospel follows Luke’s relating how of much more importance each person
is than the lilies of the field and birds of the air who are beautiful and
known by God. What we hear has to do with the implications of our being so
precious and cared for. The “kingdom” is being given to us who have faith
in the Giver. If we do so trust, then our “treasure” does not rely on or
support the temporal kingdom here on earth.
Jesus spends the remainder of our reading discussing implications of belonging
to this other kingdom. Our preciousness in God’s eyes is contrasted with
the preciousness of material treasures. We get our value from the Creator
and not the accumulation of other creatures. Our hearts desires will announce
to which kingdom we belong. For what do we wait and with what degree of patience
Jesus is an investment of love in us. We are invited to make a similar investment
in the holiness of humanity and the dominion of God. As usual a parable makes
the tension quite clear.
There is a master who has gone away, promising to return, but the when is
indefinite. The servants who remain in the house are to act justly, live
soberly, aware, and above all, expect the Master’s return at any moment.
This is a direct charge to the listening-disciples. The chapter from which
these verses are taken opens with Jesus’ speaking to his closest followers
and reminding them to avoid “the yeast of the Pharisees.” The disciples are
the servants then in whom Jesus has invested the treasures of his teachings.
Unlike the Pharisees they are to be faithful in tending the household and
the men and maidservants of the household. The emphasis is on the living
the teachings of Jesus until his return.
You might make a financial investment in some company and they might in turn
think quite highly of their venture, because of your confidence. The company
might conduct themselves by good management and produce a profit for you.
On the other hand, it might think you have lost interest, or conduct business
in such a way that you do not receive any interest for your investment.
God, in Christ, has bought into the human company. God invested totally in
our human recovery. We believe in this and desire to live reverently and
gratefully for this infinite affirmation of our company.
We can also live unjustly, unsoberly, unaware of our dignity and so deflate
our value and the whole human operation. This is why the section before about
the “lilies” is so important. Jesus calls us his flock and possessors of
the whole investment portfolio. When we hear who we are through the stories,
pictures and deeds of God for us, then we re-member ourselves to the company
of Jesus. The real problem for us humans is having the faith that there is
a kingdom to come in which we are to invest now and the payoff is in the
“then” to come. There is the “here” and the “here-after”; where is our heart!
“Exult, you just,in the Lord; praise from
the upright is fitting.” Ps. 33