The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home
August 11, 2019 – 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 12:32-48
I live less than a mile from our local volunteer fire department station. It’ a modest facility. Two trucks and an EMT emergency vehicle. No one lives there but when the call goes out, these first responders are there in a flash. They carry special phones so they can be alerted at any time of the day or night. I asked one of them how often they are called, and he said maybe once or twice of week. But there’s never a predictable pattern. Then I asked how often he thinks about that phone he carries wherever he goes. He said, “Maybe a hundred times a day.”
Today’s gospel is about always being ready to respond to God’s call, like our local first responders. Jesus talks about masters who come and go and servants who are always on duty. Jesus says it is wise to be aware of the master’s concerns and the work expected, even when he is away. If he returns and finds his servants playing cards when they should be working in the fields, well, it won’t go well for those servants.
Of course, Jesus is not describing just an employment situation. He’s talking about God and us. We need to be on alert all the time. You never know when God will invite us into the fray. In fact, the expectations and demands of God are always being offered to us. To use an old saying, there is no time-out with God.
But this omni-presence of God and God’s concerns need not result in our being anxious about not wasting a minute. Rather, it’s simply a reminder that our lives are filled with the presence and expectations of God. And these expectations are not intended simply as a burden, but as a reminder that God’s life flows into us and through us to others. That river of life is always flowing. We are privileged to be a part of God’s life and God’s work in the world. It’s a life that has already begun for us and it will never end!
I play many roles like most of us. My roles as a parent and a grandparent have given me many joys, as well as a few sorrows. These roles are not in any way a part-time happening. At virtually any time, the phone might ring, or a message may be sent my way with a request. Or simply a reminder that I am being thought of. I am like those first responders at the fire station. I may be needed for child-sitting or a small loan or for advice on one thing or another. And there’s a God-part to every request. So, I best remain ready. God’s invitations take on a thousand shades of need. Or of joy and comfort which are also a part of God’s ways with us.
©David M. Thomas, PhD
REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Download this simple Observe-Judge-Act method for discussion with your family or your CFM group.