In today’s Gospel Peter asks Our Lord to explain the teaching we heard in yesterday‘s Gospel: was the teaching about vigilance only for the Twelve, or for everyone? Our Lord repeats the need for vigilance, and then explains the fate of servants who do not their master’s will. As believers we are servants of God and servants of others, but that doesn’t take away our freedom: we can be faithful servants or rotten ones. The choice is ours, but with that freedom comes responsibility.
Our Lord presents three bad examples of servants: a servant who acts out of malice and disqualifies himself, a servant who knows what is expected and doesn’t do it, and a servant who doesn’t know what is expected and doesn’t do it. All these servants are punished, but each according to the degree of their mistake. Malicious servants are completely cast out: they’re numbered among the “unfaithful”–these are the slaves of sin that Paul refers to in the First Reading who think they’re are free in their actions, but are only heaping sorrow upon themselves. Servants who know what to do, but don’t are seriously punished–like the servant who buried the talent (see Luke 19:11–27 and Matthew 25:18,24-30) entrusted to him by his master when he was expected to invest it, the master condemns him for his timidity and lack of simple effort. Lastly, servants who didn’t know what to do also receive punishment: ignorance is not bliss. They may have been hindered by their ignorance, but Our Lord is clear that they too should have known what to do and done it.
Our Lord at the end answers Peter’s question: Peter really wants to know what’ll happen to him and the apostles if they’re unfaithful, and Jesus speaks to that point. Every believer has been entrusted with a mission to serve God and spread the Gospel, but not all of them in the same way and to the same degree. What every believer has in common is that, for them, the mission will be demanding. Let’s examine today whether we consider following Christ to be demanding. If we don’t, Our Lord teaches us the ways today to examine our lives and make any necessary corrections: to see if we’re serving self-interest and sin more than him, whether we’re doing what he expects of us, or whether there’s something that he expects of us and we don’t realize it. In prayer the Holy Spirit will help you find out, ask the Spirit to shed light on your life.
Readings: Romans 6:12–18; Psalm 124:1b–8; Luke 12:39–48.