Watch out! Tuesday, 29th week in ordinary time – Luke 12:35-38

Watch out! Tuesday, 29th week in ordinary time – Lk 12:35-38

Luke wrote this Gospel to communicate the life of Jesus as an inspiration to his community of believers and not mere to communicate a series of chronological events in Jesus’ life. Clearly at the back of his head is this fragile community who in verse 32 Jesus addresses as “little flock” exhorting them not to be afraid.

Somewhere behind the readings of this chapter is Luke’s concern for the faith of his community. The fear of persecution was real and so hope needed to be instilled in his community. Perhaps the members of this “little flock” had already begun to slide a bit, compromising on their witness if not slinking out of the sheep fold.

So Luke wants to send a message to the officials of the community who seem to be taking the demands of this new faith a bit lightly. It is they who are referred to in the parable as the stewards or slaves which in this case translates not as doulos (slave) but rather “oikonomos” or ‘one who gives service to the Christian community’.

In presenting this parable of Jesus, Luke singles out these leaders and cautions them to be examples in the community. It is they who should lead by example, ever watchful, waiting for the second coming of the master (Parousia) who could come at any time. To such leaders is reserved God’s absolute gratuity, for in an unprecedented reversal of roles, God himself will wait on these leaders at the messianic or eschatological (end times) banquet.

For the Jews or the Jewish Christian, just the thought of being accommodated at the table of the Messianic banquet was itself a reward; to have the Master himself serving them at this banquet was unthinkable and yet this is what is promised to the faithful and watchful stewards of the Church.

The Christian leaders of Luke’s community must not be lax in their duties as should the leaders of Christ’s Church today.

Fr Warner D’Souza

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