Saturday, August 14, 2010

Last Sunday's Readings

I'm running way behind with this topic, I know. It's been one of those weeks. Work has been a tremendously mad house. On to the business at hand, though:

I was thinking last Sunday about some of the stuff in the Gospel reading and picked up on an item I'd never noticed before. For those who don't recall, it was Luke 12 and was about the need for faithful and diligent servants to do their jobs so that when the Master comes back, He doesn't catch them napping.

It was this part that caught my eye (the initial talk is Jesus):

"Be sure of this:
if the master of the house had known the hour
when the thief was coming,
he would not have let his house be broken into.
You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect,
the Son of Man will come.”

Then Peter said,
“Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?”
And the Lord replied,
“Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward
whom the master will put in charge of his servants
to distribute the food allowance at the proper time?

Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so.
Truly, I say to you, the master will put the servant
in charge of all his property.
But if that servant says to himself,
‘My master is delayed in coming,’
and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants,
to eat and drink and get drunk,
then that servant’s master will come
on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour
and will punish the servant severely
and assign him a place with the unfaithful.
That servant who knew his master’s will
but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will
shall be beaten severely;
and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will
but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating
shall be beaten only lightly.
Much will be required of the person entrusted with much,
and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”

It specifically mentions Peter as the one asking Jesus who He is talking about, the Apostles or the masses. Jesus then answers the question with a question, focusing on an individual who is the faithful and prudent steward who is put in charge of the other servants.

I've heard this bit a million times, and I never once noticed the connection to the papacy before. Maybe I'm out of line, but Christ is clearly referencing someone being in charge of everyone else. Let me also say that I find it interesting that the servants are first discussed as awaiting the Master's return from a wedding. Then, their job is mentioned as distributing a food allowance. This seems very Eucharistic to me, especially if we're talking about the Pope and the clergy subservient to him.

The parable gets sort of vague after that, as it isn't entirely certain if Jesus is talking about the steward or the servants distributing the food allowance or both. He winds up the discourse with a contrast between the servant who knew what the Master wanted and the servant who was ignorant, making it clear that the former will be in for a much worse punishment.

I'll interject here to say that I have seen this Scripture selection used to present the concept of purgatory.

On the main subject, Jesus gives His explanation for why the punishment will be worse for the servant who knew the Master's will. We can be pretty certain here that He's talking about the steward in charge as someone who fits that category.

Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.

Popin', therefore, is decidedly not easy. Moreso than that, it bears the weight of enhanced accountability before God for whatever screw-ups the Supreme Pontiff might have a long the way. Think Spider-Man. "With great power comes great responsibility."

All the more reason to pray for the Pope and for all of God's other laboring servants.

On a side note, if anyone is familiar with any of the Fathers or Doctors who have taken this part of the Gospel in the papal way that I've mentioned, let me know. I'd like to see their thoughts. There's nothing in Haydock that mentions it.

No comments: