Homily: 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Readings of the Day

There was something he needed to get rid of, yet he didn’t want to. It was his precious, something that was useful to him when he wanted to disappear. But he felt worn out, like butter scraped across too much bread, and he needed to get away, to let go of the Ring. He pondered whether his nephew Frodo could handle it, but in the end with Gandalf’s help, Bilbo Baggins was able to give to Ring to Frodo, with all the challenges and burdens that would mean. As it turned out, Bilbo turned it over to just the right person at just the right time.

The story of the watchful servant is one most of us can relate to; I’m not taking a poll to see how many of you are working in a place like this. Jesus’ time wasn’t about people keeping strict timetables: when someone went on a trip, you literally had to idea when they were coming back, or even if they were coming back. The situation would have been fairly common, and the test of a good steward was whether they did their job while their master was gone. How they did when no one was looking is a test we have today, it’s a classic test of character: what do you do when nobody seems to be looking? The punishment for goofing off on the job has changed a bit from Jesus’ day: it’s illegal to whip somebody, but getting punished in some way is still the price.

The last phrase Jesus says is what sticks with me: “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” Expectations are common, and with the beginning of pre-season football and the approaching end of the baseball season, the standards of a talented person just get higher. If we’re a parent or teacher, we may have this expectations, those hopes of our children. This is also true of our leaders, particularly our religious leaders.

I think it’s important to remember that Christ has entrusted us with everything. If Christ is going to get things done here and now, we’re the ones who’re going to have to do it. Christ has given us His Mission to take care of the World. Christ has given us a great expectation. We call ourselves Christian, and that’s a high bar, failing that calling has consequences to the people we’re trying to reach. We need to remember who has entrusted us with so many gifts, so many talents to use for Good, and the example Jesus set in using them.

The Eucharist not only gives us strength to live as Christ calls us, but challenges us. Christ becomes part of us, and if that’s not a lot of trust put in us, I don’t know what is. We’re called to be on our game, be our best, be alert to the world around us and be ready to move as He wants us. We have a great calling as Church, we have a lot to accomplish. As we receive the great commission Christ gives us, we need to remember how much our Savior has invested in us, how He has poured out everything for us, and ponder what we’re called to do with the investment Christ has made in us. He invests everything in us every week: how does that call us to be alert?  We never know when He will come into our lives, or when He will send someone to us.

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