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Luke 12:35-38

The Word of God

Jesus said to his disciples, "Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves."

Luke 12:35-38
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • A number of parables including this one from Luke, remind us that the Christian life is, on some level, a matter of conscious choice, of being awake and 'alert'.
    • The theologian Karl Barth has a lovely description of what salvation in Christ means: 'the prisoner has become the watchman'. Yes, the prisoner has been liberated; but he has only been liberated so that he can take his place in the watchtower, waiting for the return of the Messiah so that he can announce it.
    • The master will sit the servants down and wait on them - this is exactly what happens with the banquet laid out for us by the Father. In the story of the Lost Son (Luke 15:11-32) Jesus tells of a father anxiously waiting for his prodigal son, scanning the horizon for his return. The Father is alert, mindful of his beloved children; we are asked in turn to be mindful of our loving Father.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • The context of Luke’s gospel is the awareness of Jesus that his conflict with the Jewish authorities is likely to end in his arrest and death. He is trying to prepare his disciples to be ready for this.
    • Life is a challenging journey and we can never be ready for every event in our lives. The gospel says: “Be dressed for action” and blessed are those who are ready and alert. It takes a deep breath of faith to be ready for any unexpected event which may come upon us. We know that on some level within us we must be always ready for death. It comes as a loving master ready to serve us.
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    • When we are fully involved in anything our attention is complete. At other times we tend to put things off. It’s a great gift to be alert to the fact that we have come from God and we are going back to God. This helps to put our whole life into a proper perspective. Closeness to Jesus is what keeps this awareness alive.
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    • The ordinary attitude of the Christian is to be awake, alert and attentive, sensitive to the prompting of God’s Spirit and aware of God’s action in the world. I take some time of quiet in my prayer so that I may hear the master’s knock. In all the noise that surrounds me where might it be that the Lord is close, ready to be with me more fully?
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    • Is this only about the end time or is Jesus knocking at my door on a daily basis? Am I being challenged to recognise him in the guise of a stranger, a person who is ill or who needs an encouraging word or a gentle touch? Do I treasure these opportunities as an encounter with Christ?
    • Lord, make me vigilant so that I may recognise your face in my encounters today. As C. S. Lewis says, there are no ordinary mortals in this world. Everyone is an extra-ordinary immortal, destined for eternal joy. Let me be reverent to them all.
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    • The role-reversal on the part of the master, who serves those slaves who were awake and alert, says much about God’s gracious bounty and generosity.
    • In discipleship there is no room for complacency or half-heartedness. The commitment required is total and the reward is equally great. The lighted lamps symbolise the alertness required of us. How is my lamp?
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • How would I like you to find me when you call me, Lord? At peace with you, at peace with my fellows, at peace with myself. Let not the sun go down on my anger.
    • Here we have another picture of Jesus the servant - the master who would serve the slaves. This image turns cultural customs a bit upside down, like Jesus later would wash the feet of the disciples. This is how he visits us - the one who stands at our door and knocks, and then brings the meal for us to eat. The meal of the word of God, of the Eucharist, the gift of God's love. This is his gift in the time of prayer.