Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In order to fully understand this parable that our Lord equips us with this week, we need to look back to the three verses that come before it. In Matthew 24:42, our Lord tells his disciples to “stay awake” because you do not know the day when your master is coming. Before he proceeds with the parable of the faithful and wise slave, he goes on to tell them “to stand ready because the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” As with all the readings during this Glorious Season of the Cross, today’s Gospel also points to the eschatological dimension of our faith, the end of the world and the second coming of the Lord.
Today, many people think that the end of the world is close and at hand. They live their lives concerned about the end of the world. Every time something tragic takes place, such as wars, famines, terrorist attacks, they say “this is the end of the world”. Every time something takes place in society which is contrary to their ideals and beliefs, they say “the end of the world has come.” The truth of the matter is that regardless of what is taking place in the world, nobody knows when the end will come except for the Father. In fact, Saint Mark in his Gospel tells us “But as for that day or hour, nobody knows it, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, no one but the Father!” (Mk 13, 32). The question at hand shouldn’t be when or how. The question should be “are you ready?” for the when and for the how. The example of the master and the slave is very important in this context. Each one of us has a responsibility to be good stewards of the gifts that God has given us. How we behave and the choices that we make in life truly matter and reflect on our character and level of growth. Regardless of whether our “Master” is present or not, we should act with responsibility and be trustworthy “servants”.
Further to this, our work in the Church should not be dependent on the person of the priest. For example, if I get on well with a particular priest, this doesn’t mean that when that priest is away I stop working and carrying out my duties in the service of the Church. Here, the question arises, am I serving the Church, the body of Christ or the person of the priest? I need to be faithful and responsible to the Church at all times, in the presence and in the absence of the priest!
Last Monday, many of our parishioners together with Father Youwakim Noujaim gave up their public holiday to carry out some crucial work around the Cathedral. Nearly 300m2 of rock flooring was demolished. Thank you to everyone who took part in this, whether it was by carrying out the work or providing nourishment; your efforts are truly appreciated! Also, congratulations to our Youth committee (MYO) who organised a very successful Grand Ball last Friday night. I truly commend you all on your planning and organisation. The funds raised from this event will go towards the grotto project. I will be back next week and am looking forward to seeing you all upon my arrival.
Blessings from Lebanon, Father Tony Sarkis