Many of us have experienced a "surprise" party held in our honour, for a birthday, or other important event. All of a sudden, without warning you ‘re the centre of attention, and all kinds of gifts and/or honours are bestowed upon you with love or good wishes. It takes humility to give up control and to passively accept the situation.
We can think of these human surprise events when we reflect on today's gospel (Luke 12:32-48). The servants don't know when their Master is coming home, but most of them stay awake so that they can unlock the door and
welcome him. Talk about surprises! The real surprise consists in the actions of the Master toward his servants when he comes home: He waits upon them!
That twist in the story had to amaze the people who were listening to Jesus talk about the kingdom of God; after all, no employer or master had ever treated them this way. To have a banquet feast in the middle of the night, where I become the guest? It’s hosted by the Master, who becomes the servant. Wow! Yes, that would indeed be a surprise.
As always, there is a condition attached to this potential reward. To sit at this banquet table requires that one is first
faithful to his covenant with the Master. We’ve already had one surprise party: God sent his only son, Jesus the Christ, to serve us and to teach us how to love each other. Now Jesus asks us to continue his mission. But he also warns us to be alert and remain faithful to the love-covenant, because he is coming again at a time and date unknown to the servants, and those who believe in him. Are you ready? The lack of warning is really nothing more than a simple test of our faith and faithfulness.
KNOW YOUR CATECHISM!
Jesus starts the gospel today (Luke 12:32) with his gentle and peaceful promise of the kingdom to his little flock. Article 764 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states that to welcome Jesus' word is to welcome "the Kingdom itself. The seed and beginning of the Kingdom are the "little flock" of those whom Jesus came to gather around him, the flock whose shepherd he is. Jesus urges us to “vigilance of the heart” in communion with his own. Article CCC 2849," Vigilance is "custody of the heart," and Jesus prayed for us to the Father: "Keep them in your name." The Holy Spirit constantly seeks to awaken us to keep watch so that because where one's heart is focused reveals which treasure one really desires. "Lo, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is he who is awake.