First Reading: Ws 2:23-3:9; Psalm: 34. R. v. 2a; Gospel: Lk 17:7-10
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
Listening to Jesus speak in the gospel of today, anyone could easily feel that the manner of treatment which Jesus proposed for servants was harsh and unfair. After ploughing a land or pasturing a flock the whole day, it wouldn’t cost a master anything to at least say to his tired and hardworking servant upon his return; “Well down. You have worked very hard.” But Jesus was proposing that when a servant returns from his duties, his master should give him more work even without appreciation. This really sounds harsh.
But if we journeyed into the time of Jesus, we would discover that servants were like properties to their masters. Doing their master’s command was a pleasure and also a way of buying their freedom. So appreciating them was not an option. It was not as if Jesus approved of this kind of treatment. But Jesus was only using the status quo at that time to pass a message that as his followers, we are nothing but mere servants at the service of one another. Ordinarily, everyone loves and deserves appreciation when a good and tiring task is carried out. But Jesus is saying to us today not to set our hearts on appreciation. Our actions should be motivated by unconditional service.
So, Jesus does not disapprove of appreciation but the selfish motivation behind our good works. Every good work should be done primarily for the sake of love and the well being of the recipient and not to attract praises. If we acted good to be appreciated, we have not only received our reward but could also stop being good when the appreciation does not often come as we wish. To every Christian, being at the service of others is really not a duty but an act of love. The difference is that we cannot stop serving even when not appreciated. “So, when we have done all that is commanded of us, we should just say, ‘we are unworthy servants; we have done only what was commanded.’” (Lk 17:10).
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, may our love for one another be pure and sincere. Amen.