Tuesday - Ordinary Time
1) Opening prayer
God of power and mercy,
protect us from all harm.
Give us freedom of spirit
and health in mind and body
to do your work on earth.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2) Gospel reading - Luke 17,7-10
'Which of you, with a servant ploughing or minding sheep, would say to him when
he returned from the fields, "Come and have your meal at once"? Would
he not be more likely to say, "Get my supper ready; fasten your belt and
wait on me while I eat and drink. You yourself can eat and drink
afterwards"? Must he be grateful to the servant for doing what he was
told? So with you: when you have done all you have been told to do, say,
"We are useless servants: we have done no more than our duty." '
• The Gospel today narrates the parable
which is found only in Luke’s Gospel, and has no parallel in the other Gospels.
The parable wants to teach that our life has to be characterized by an attitude
of service. It begins with three questions and at the end Jesus himself gives
• Luke 17, 7-9: The three questions of
Jesus. It treats of three questions taken from daily life, and therefore,
the auditors have to think each one on his own experience to give a response
according to that experience. The first question: “Which of you, with a
servant ploughing or minding sheep would say to him when he returned from the
fields, ’Come and have your meal at once?” All will answer: “No!” Second question: “Would he not be more likely to say, ‘Get my supper ready;
fasten your belt and wait on me while I eat and drink. You yourself can eat and
drink afterwards?” All will answer: “Yes! Certainly!” Third question: “Must he be grateful to the servant for doing what he was told?” All
will answer “No!” The way in which Jesus asks the questions, people
become aware in which way he wants to orientate our thought. He wants us to be
servants to one another.
• Luke 17, 10: The response of Jesus. At
the end Jesus himself draws a conclusion which was already implicit in the
questions: “So with you, when you have done all you have been told to do,
say ‘We are useless servants, we have done no more than our duty”. Jesus
himself has given us example when he said: “The Son of Man has not come to
be served, but to serve” (Mk 10, 45). Service is a theme which Luke likes.
Service represents the form in which the poor in the time of Jesus, the anawim, were waiting for the Messiah: not like a king and glorious Messiah, high
priest or judge, but rather as the Servant of Yahweh, announced by Isaiah (Is
42, 1-9). Mary, the Mother of Jesus, says to the Angel: “Behold the handmaid
of the Lord, may it be done to me according to your word!” (Lk 1, 38). In
Nazareth, Jesus presents himself as the Servant described by Isaiah (Lk
4, 18-19 and Is 61, 1-2). In Baptism and in the Transfiguration, he was
confirmed by the Father who quotes the words addressed by God to the Servant
(Lk 3, 22; 9, 35 e Is 42, 1). Jesus asks his followers: “Anyone who wants to
be first among you must be your slave” (Mt 20, 27). Useless servants! This
is the definition of the Christian. Paul speaks about this to the members of
the community of Corinth when he writes: “I did the planting, Apollos did
the watering, but God gave growth. In this neither the planter nor the waterer
counts for anything, only God who gave growth” (1Co 3, 6-7). Paul and
Apollos are nothing; only simple instruments, “Servants”. The only one who
counts is God, He alone! (1Co 3, 7).
• To serve and to be served. Here in
this text, the servant serves the master and not the master the servant. But in
the other text of Jesus the contrary is said: “Blessed those servants whom
the master finds awake when he comes. In truth, I tell you, he will do up his
belt, sit them down at table and wait on them” (Lk 12, 37). In this text,
the master serves the servant and not the servant the master. In the first
text, Jesus spoke in the present. In the second text, Jesus is speaking in the
future. This contrast is another way of saying: the one who is ready to lose
his life out of love for Jesus and the Gospel will find it (Mt 10, 39; 16, 25).
Anyone who serves God in this present life will be served by God in the future
4) Personal questions
• How do I define my life?
• Do I ask myself the three questions of
Jesus? Do I live, perhaps, like a useless servant?
5) Concluding prayer
The lives of the just are in Yahweh's care,
their birthright will endure for ever.
Yahweh guides a
strong man's steps and keeps them firm;
pleasure in him. (Ps 37,18.23)