August 11, 2013 –– Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The keys to the readings for this Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time might be concentrated in two important words in our lives as Catholics and Christians: faith and wisdom. Jesus, in His parable of the Faithful Servant included in today’s Gospel reading, sums up what it means to be a good steward by telling us to be true to our faith, and be wise about how we live out our lives of stewardship.
The first reading is from the Book of Wisdom. In this reading, we hear about faith, but we also hear that it is important to have wisdom in how we show that faith.
The Letter to the Hebrews, from which the second reading is drawn, has produced debate among academics and researchers for centuries. Although a few attribute it to St. Paul, most do not feel there is enough evidence to ascribe it to anyone. Nevertheless, for our deliberations it does not matter who wrote it, but what the author had to say. Some call this Book the “Faith Hall of Fame” because it includes a series of stories and tributes to men and women of faith throughout Biblical history. The particular chapter and verse of today’s reading concentrates upon the boundless faith of Abraham. It reminds us that faith such as his is always rewarded by God.
As is often the case with our readings nonetheless, the Gospel from Luke takes these two notions — faith and wisdom — and brings them to life for us. Two of the most celebrated quotes about stewardship are included in this Gospel: in the first few verses, Jesus declares “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Lk 12:34) and the last verse of the reading includes, “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much.” (Lk 12:40)
Featured in the Gospel is the Parable of the Faithful Servant. The word “parable” comes from the Greek word parabol, which means “illustration” or “comparison.” The Lord relates this parable, in the midst of which Peter asks, “Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?”
You can almost imagine Jesus sighing before He continues to try to teach and explain to His followers there, and to us today. One of the earliest questions in the Baltimore Catechism was “Why did God make you?” to which the proper answer was “God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.” It is simple when it is looked at in those terms. What Jesus is trying to get across to us is that we cannot fool God. He knows where our treasure is; He knows our gifts; and He knows if we are living lives of good stewardship.
As to faith and wisdom, Jesus instructs us to be faithful in our awareness of God, as well as our relationship with Him. Wisdom comes into play in correlation to how we interact with and minister to others. Jesus advises us, “You must also be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Are we ready?