14 November 2017

We serve b/c we are servants

32nd Week OT (T)
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
St. Dominic, NOLA

Our Lord is sounding a bit. . .irritated. . .with the disciples. They've asked him how many times must they forgive their brother. Jesus tells them. Seventy times seven. Taken aback by his response, the disciples say, “Lord, increase our faith!” Apparently, Jesus hears this plea as a request for a reward, a prize for doing nothing more than what the disciples are duty-bound to do. He answers their prayer – in no uncertain terms – with a biting analogy. The sharp point of his analogy is this: servants serve b/c they are servants. They do not serve b/c they expect a reward. Jesus asks, “Is [the Master] grateful to that servant because [the servant] did what was commanded?” Think long and hard about your own service to God – in worship, in works of charity, in prayer, in giving alms. Do you expect a reward for doing what you have been commanded by God to do? All that God commands us to do is commanded for our benefit. Nothing we do – not worship, not ministry, not alms-giving – nothing we do or say benefits God. Our obedience to His commands is our reward, our benefit. Waiting for God to thank us for our service is folly. Doing what He commands is wisdom. “Those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love. . .”
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