Homily on the readings for August 26, Thursday of the XXI week OT, II
God never asks us to do anything without giving us the strength to do it.
In the Gospel today, Jesus offers us a real challenge: we are to be ready at any moment for our personal definitive encounter with the Lord. He doesn’t make it sound easy. First he compares it to staying awake all night waiting for a thief, while not knowing the day or hour in which he will come. Then he compares it to being a steward whose master is long in coming back; it’s hard for the steward not to relax, let his delegated authority go to his head and start to abuse it.
It certainly can be difficult to be ready to face judgment at any moment. We are all busy with many mundane things that can dull our sense of the importance of acting in each moment as someone responsible before God. It is human nature to tend to relax our guard and to go for immediate results and satisfaction, instead of being constantly on our guard and planning for the long term. And the fact is that if we were constantly on our toes and looking over our shoulder, we would end up either paranoid or having a nervous breakdown.
But things are not as tough as they look. On one hand, like the faithful steward in the parable, if we just do what we know is right then we won’t have to worry about when the Lord will come; we will be ready. On the other hand, God himself will give us the strength to persevere in a state of readiness for His coming.
This is what we see in the first reading. St Paul writes to those called to be holy and who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (and that includes us). According to the Apostle, we are not abandoned to our own devices as we wait for the Lord. On the contrary, we have been “enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge”, “not lacking in any spiritual gift as we wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ” who will keep us “firm to the end, irreproachable” on the day the Lord comes, because “God is faithful”. All we have to do is make good use of the grace that God has already given us through his grace in our hearts, the sacraments, and the spiritual and theological heritage of the Church.
How can we not be powerfully encouraged by these inspired words of Scripture? We should be spontaneously moved to echo today’s psalm: “Every day will I bless you, and I will praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord and highly to be praised; his greatness is unsearchable.”