We should see, by now, that every parable of Jesus contains a hidden surprise! One has to look “behind” the literal words and seek out the spiritual level. So it is with today’s gospel story about the Master and Servant. A servant shouldn’t expect any special favours, for simply doing what he’s expected to do. He knows what his Master wants from him, and his responsibility is to carry out that function to the best of his ability.
Jesus is really talking about discipleship – the relationship between Jesus and his followers. They have a job to do; they have been empowered to do it (i.e., they have the mustard seed of faith – now all they have to do is act on that faith). But in his usual fashion, he has a surprise meaning. It’s not really a surprise, in the context of seeing Jesus live out a life of service to others throughout the gospels.
We can see now that for Luke’s community (and ours), the Eucharist has turned the world upside down. We have done much to fulfil our vocations as parents, grandparents, caretakers, volunteers, job-holders, students, ministers, etc. But, we can grow weary and we need to be waited on. That’s, what God does for us! He, the Master, has us sit around the banquet table! There God serves us with a specially chosen Word to empower us, and the bread and wine to renew us with Jesus’ life for the return trip to the fields and serving places of everyday life.
Jesus is not only Master, he is OUR Servant! Such love! Such love!
Jesus tells us that by sharing the table of sinners he was admitting them to the messianic banquet – a scandal to the Pharisees. But it was precisely in the washing of others’ feet that Jesus demonstrated his desire to be our servant, to wait on us at the table of plenty. We the Disciples of Christ must walk this same road that Christ walked, and serve each other.