Summary: Sharing in the invitation of the Gospel.. Relating to the parable of the servant and the good master and the thier roles
When I think on today’s Gospel parable I at once imagine how I would feel if I had worked all day in the field for somebody. Imagine how you would feel, you have worked all day long for your boss and at the end of the day, instead of being told you have done a great job, you are told to get supper ready, make sure his/her clothes are laid out for them, and if there something left over then you can have some supper.
Would you feel much appreciated, would you want to remain in that kind of employment or remain in that household? Unfortunately, many people serve a master who does just that.
They work, work, and work some more in the hopes that their master will one day recognize them. They hope he will take notice of all that they accomplish only to find that they are disappointed each time. Instead, they are told do so much more to show how devoted they are to him.
Some people feel this is the way it is with God. They feel that they serve a God who demands too much and does not answer their needs, or they feel God asks too much of them.
The truth of the matter is, the Master we serve has already invited us to the table to eat. When we accepted Jesus Christ into our lives, it was at that moment we received our invite.
God did not say to the Israelites, “well if you want out or Egypt, you are going to have to do this, this, and this”. No, He sent Moses to rally his people and lead them out of the bondage they were in. Once they were no longer under the Pharaoh’s oppression, God taught them how to worship. God sustained them in the wilderness of the Sinai. God prepared a place for them. God brought them to the table first. That is grace.
In many cultures and beliefs, performing works in order gain favor with the gods is a way of life. Take one of my favorite topics, Greek mythology. Look at all the heroes and heroines in those stories. Hercules for instance had to perform twelve tasks before he could gain forgiveness from Hera (Queen of the gods), all because Hercules had the misfortune of being the illegitimate child of Zeus (King of the gods) and Alcmene. In the end, Hercules never did gain his stepmother’s acceptance as she would plague his life until the day he died.
For the Jews gathered listening to Jesus, his parable would have struck at the very core of their religious rituals. The religious leaders within the Jewish community held their people captive to all the sacrificial laws. For them they related God as the master who would call them in from the fields and ask them to prepare the meal (sacrifice) for Him, before they would get to feast, or be blest for their hard work.
What Jesus puts before them is, whom do you serve? Do you serve God or the Law? Do you serve a right and just Master who places His servants in a position of honor? On the other hand, do you serve a master that makes his servants subject to and resentful of his rule?
For many people living today, they feel the same way as the Jewish leadership. They may feel that they are not worthy of God, or that it takes too much work to be loved by Him. Maybe they come from the mindset that they have done too much in their lives that they will never work off all the debt they owe God.
You see, these are the blind people that Jesus came to bring sight. These are the people who cannot see past their own mistakes in life, to the great meal that awaits them. God is calling them to banquet table; unfortunately, they do not see the food as being set for them. They have not accepted the idea that the Master is placing them in the seat of honor.
Throughout the Gospel readings the message that is constantly reinforced, come and have your meal at once. Once you have eaten of the meal, you can show me your appreciation by being faithful to me.
This message is even played out in Paul’s letter to Timothy when he tells his readers. “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God… For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord…”
We as servants of the Living Lord our God should be willing and want to spread the message of the great gift God has given to us. For it is through this freely given Grace that we have been released from our captivity to the ills of life.