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The WORD. The TRUTH.

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The immediate context of this Sunday’s gospel is about Jesus addressing again his disciples in the crowd, serving as a commentary on the parable of the rich fool with counsels against worry about food and drink or clothes (Lk 12:22-31). The reading (vv32-48) begins with a specific appellation directed to the disciples, ‘little flock’ (v32). Truly they are little in terms of numbers and character i.e. having a humble spirit. Yet they are given the assurance which could transcend all fear- they are destined to receive the greatest gift, the kingdom of God. In the light of their heavenly spiritual destiny, they are to substitute the perishable for the imperishable (v33). A maxim follows underlining the radical stance the disciples are to adopt vis-à-vis material possessions, an important truth in life: that the heart as the seat of human yearning must have its proper attraction. For it will be totally absorbed by its priorities and goals, for good or ill (v34, cf Mt 6:19-21).

Continuing his address to his disciples, Jesus urges vigilance and fidelity (vv35f). The verbal form used in this text comes from γρηγορέω (grëgoreõ), ‘translated as vigilance, watchfulness, give attention to’. In its occurrences in NT most of it comes straight from Jesus’ mouth, exhorting his disciples and/or commanding his hearers to “watch” for the day of the Lord’s return (e.g. today’s gospel; Mt 24:42f; Mk13:34f); or his particular invitation to “watch and pray” with him in Gethsemane; or to safeguard in general the relationship with the Lord (1 Cor 16:13; 1 Thes 5:6; 1 Pt 5:8; Rev 3:2, 16:15). Using images to show how to be vigilant Jesus refers to loins bound for the journey (recalling the readiness for the exodus departure, Ex 12:11), the lighted lamp (a NT figure for alertness, Mt 25:1), servants awaiting their master’s return from a wedding and the master of the house on guard over his household to prevent from being burglarized (vv35-40).

With Peter’s question (v41), the discourse moves to an ecclesial setting, that is, Jesus’ words are intended not solely for his companions but for later Christians, especially those called to leadership. Leaders in the church were termed ‘servants’ (Rom 1:1; Gal 1:10) as well as ‘stewards’ (v42). In other words not only are readiness and watchfulness expected from them but fidelity and prudent conduct as well by avoiding arrogance and abuse of power. Otherwise, they would receive punishment more severe than others (vv45-48).

The Letter to the Hebrews reminds us that our ancestors (Abraham et al) “desire a better homeland, a heavenly one” (11:16). Jesus assures us of that: “your Father is pleased to give the kingdom” (Lk 12:32b). Meanwhile let us remain vigilant and faithful and prudent servants while we wait for coming of the Lord the exact time or the hour no one knows.

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Veritas Editorial

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

President of Radio Veritas

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