Jesus is the leader of those to whom the Father sees fit to give the kingdom. Those who truly belong to him are courageous, watchful, ready, faithful.
“Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours,” taught Jesus earlier. Now he says that such teaching is true of those who make up the little flock. And so, they should be courageous enough to let go of what they own to help the poor. They must not worry about their life, what they will eat, about their body, what they will wear (Lk 12, 22). For they are to trust in God. After all, in giving them the kingdom, he gives besides the other things that they need (Lk 12, 31).
And in being courageous in such a way, Jesus’ followers, moreover, get ready for the next life. That is, they get to use so wisely what belongs to them that they “will be welcomed into eternal dwellings” (Lk 16, 9).
Storing up goods, then, for heaven matters more than storing wealth for oneself here below. And since the disciples do not know when their time here is up, they must be more than just courageous. So, Jesus urges them to be watchful also, ready and faithful.
Jesus wants them to gird their loins and light their lamps. He means that they have to be like servants awaiting their master’s return, watchful and ready to welcome the master. The master’s seeming delay should not make them take out their frustration and fatigue on others. Nor should it lead them to neglect their duties. Or not to care, so as to want only to have their fill of food and drink and go to sleep.
To be Jesus’ own is to be courageous, watchful, ready, faithful.
We claim to be Jesus’ followers today, which begs the question, “Are we courageous, watchful, ready and faithful?” And we need to be so more than ever (see J.A. Pagola). For one thing, nationalism, racism, rears its ugly head.
It is time for us to step up to the plate and become Yahweh’s poor, the few, the remnant, courageous, watchful, ready, faithful. With nothing but our faith in God, looking out not for our own interests, but for those of others (Phil 2, 4).
We are few, yes, but have to be courageous. We must keep in mind that Jesus accomplishes his work not so much through many workers. Rather, through the faithfulness of the small number whom he calls (SV.EN III:66-67).
Lord Jesus, make us courageous, watchful, ready and faithful as we face the challenges of life and death. May we thus be rich in the sight of God. And may we devote ourselves to the breaking of the bread. Do not let your seeming absence and delay lead to forgetfulness and cooling off in our hearts (SV.EN XI:131).
11 August 2019
19th Sunday in O.T. (C)
Wis 18, 6-9; Heb 11, 1-2. 8-19; Lk 12, 32-48