Cling to the Lord….
Last weekend we meditated on true treasure and this weekend how do we grow in our faith and how do prepare to embrace the true treasure? The second reading starts with the definition of Faith. “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen” (Hebrew 11:1). Faith involves trust and confidence in God’s word even if it cannot be verified by our human senses and reasoning. The virtue of hope springs from his combination of faith and confidence. We cannot see God directly as he is, face to face, but by faith, we know God and have a personal relationship with him.
In the First reading from the Book of Wisdom, we hear the faith of the Israelites. We are told how their Faith and Hope resulted in their liberation. They were warned of the coming Passover; they were prepared, escaped from the angel of death, and offered the righteous sacrifice in peace.
Our reading reflects Exodus chapters 11 and 12. While the angel of the Lord was striking down the firstborn of Pharaoh and other Egyptians, Israelites were vigilantly offering righteous sacrifice to the Lord and eating the lamb's meat to fortify themselves for their coming escape. That night was the first Passover. They were in full of hope and confidence in their God, the liberator. At the end of the Passover meal, they praise God by singing the Psalms. We read in the Gospels, that Jesus celebrated Passover with his disciples. In Matthew 26:30 we read, “Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” We read in the Gospel of Mark 14:26, the same.
The Gospel (Luke 12:32-48) warns Christians to be ready for the second coming, like servants waiting for the master’s return to the house. Luke emphasizes for his readers the importance of being faithful to the instructions of Jesus in the period before the parousia. The parable of the faithful and the unfaithful servant is about leadership and responsibility. The apostles were compared to domestic servants who were charged with various duties in the household of the kingdom.
The Gospel talks about the necessity of watchfulness. If the master comes during the second watch, which is between 10 pm and sunrise, the faithful servant would be ready to receive him. We can see a similar message in the Gospel of Matthew 25:1, “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.” The message is to be prepared, be vigilant.
According to the Fathers of the Church, Jesus’ words in this passage have two senses. In the narrower sense, the words refer to the Second Coming of Jesus, but in the broader sense, they refer to the time of our own death, when God will call us to meet Him and to give Him an account of our life on earth.
The question for reflection is how do we prepare? Gospel gives us the answer: Love and God and love one another. In the Gospel we read, Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father, is pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach, nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.”
Last weekend we meditated on treasure: focus on God. This weekend we meditate on all other treasures: money, talent, time, and so on. How do use our treasures?
We should be like Israelites, who were not taken by surprise on the night of the Passover because they were saved because they had been warned. We, too, must cling to the Hope of a future that may seem too good to be true, and we, too, are expected to be steadfast in our Faith, even when we see no signs of the fulfillment of God’s promises. Be a faithful servant.