Meditation of the week

Master and servant

Luke 17,5-10.

Jesus has just reminded his disciples (17,1-4), that regrettably, temptation, sin and scandal will be an inevitable part of the Christian community.  While he urges them to take care and avoid such things themselves, they are to be forgiving and compassionate to the sinner who repents of his/her wrongdoing. (17,1-4). The response of the disciples to the foregoing is to ask Jesus to increase their faith.  Perhaps, they realize that Jesus’ demands are too much for their faith?

Jesus takes the request as an opportunity to talk about the power of faith. Even the tiniest amount of faith is sufficient because it is capable of great things. If they had faith the size of a mustard seed, (one of the tiniest seeds), they could command a mulberry tree, to be planted in the sea and it would happen. The sycamine tree (of the mulberry species) was thought to have very deep roots, and was therefore almost impossible to uproot, and extremely difficult to transplant into the sea. The person with faith in God takes these apparent impossibilities in their stride. Things happen for them.

Narrating the parable of the Servant and the Master, Jesus teaches that the servant’s job is to do his master’s will. The servant and his labour belong to the master.  A full day’s work is his/her duty. The servants’ primary task is to serve their master. In doing their duty they have no claims or rights over their master.

Applying the parable to his disciples, Jesus reminds them that they are God’ servants. They can neither demand his special favour nor put him under any obligation towards them. When they give him the best service they are capable of they are giving him no more than he deserves. They are giving him nothing that doesn’t belong to him by right. The disciples are not to seek thanks from God for their service of Him, but rather to give thanks to God for His love and grace to them. We are the same. We have no claims on God, no rights to anything from Him. He owes us nothing. We owe him everything.   Gratitude to God for His unlimited benevolence to us should always feature in our prayer and worship of God.

“Faith is a personal adherence of the whole person to God who reveals himself.” CCC 176.

“I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth” is the first great truth of our Faith is the foundation of our life on which everything depends. It gives meaning to life and death, it explains all that exists and everything we are.  It gives coherence and purpose to life, direction and substance to our hopes and aspirations. Faith gives light, energy, vision, assurance, conviction, trust, love, joy and peace to believers.

“Faith is like the sun; the one created thing which we cannot look at is the one thing in the light of which we look at everything,” says Chesterton – speaking from experience, having embraced the Catholic Faith in adulthood. “Lord increase my faith.”

Mark 11,24, reminds us that “whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” If you don’t do so already, try praying like that.

Fr Geoff O’Grady