Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Blessed Those Servants Whom The Master Finds Ready When He Returns!

Today’s first reading is taken from the Letter of Paul to the Romans (5:12-21).

In Genesis, we read that God told Adam that he could eat the fruit of every tree in the garden except one. If he disobeyed this command, he would die (Genesis 1:17). So, Paul writes, “Sin entered the world through one man, and through sin, death. Thus, death has spread through the whole human race, since everyone has sinned.

It is certain that through one man’s sin, many have died. Yet it is still more certain that God’s grace, coming through one man, Jesus Christ, has come to many as an abundant free gift. The result of God’s gift is different from the result of Adam’s sin. Adam’s sin brought God’s judgment upon himself and all of his descendants, and with judgment sin and death. But God’s gift of grace, won for us by one man, Jesus Christ, has made it possible for everyone who will invite him into their lives to become righteous. Many have become sinners because Adam was disobedient; many will become righteous because Christ was obedient, even unto death.

When God’s law was given to Moses on Mount Sinai, the people now knew God’s standards of human behavior. Yet, few tried to live according to God’s standards. People knew what God wanted them to do, but most preferred to do what they wanted to do, even if it were against God’s will. In brief, people ignored God’s law, because they wanted to be a law unto themselves. Yet, however great the sin, God’s grace is even greater. God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son into the world, so that through him the world might be saved (John 3:16). The sacrifice of the Cross is sufficient to bring salvation to everyone who has ever lived, is now alive, or will be alive between now and the Second Coming of Christ. From God’s perspective, salvation is a free gift to all his children, because his first-born and only-begotten Son has already paid the ransom for the rest of us. That gift is more than sufficient to bring eternal salvation to all who trust him.

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In today’s gospel (Luke 12:35-39), Jesus tells his disciples to act like servants waiting for the master to return home from a wedding feast. They don’t know when the festivities will end, or whether the master might decided to come home early. So, they must be dressed, with their lamps lit, ready for action. Servants who are ready whenever the master returns will have a pleasant surprise. The master will put on an apron, seat them at the table, and wait on them. Whether in the middle of the night, or shortly before sunrise, happy those servants if he finds them ready.

The “moral of the story” is found one verse beyond the end of the gospel reading for today: “Keep yourself ready, because the Son of Man will come when you don’t expect him.” Jesus is not speaking only about his coming in glory at the end of time, but about the moment when our life in this world ends, and we stand before the throne of divine justice. 

Live today as if it will be the last day of your life -- remember, one of these days, it will be.  

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