27th Sunday C
(Luke 17: 5-10)
The point that Jesus is making in the parable is that faith demands that we serve God unconditionally. Jesus insists that God owes us nothing and we do not conduct our business with God on a contractual basis. We are mere creatures and creatures as we are; we have no claim at all on our creator. This does not imply that God is pitiless to us but that we cannot make demands on him. We have no right to say: “I pray to him regularly, I do charitable works, I am a good neighbor so I deserve to be treated as I deserve… with good health and blessings.” Simply, we cannot demand on God.
* * * * *
That is what it means to be a slave. A hired servant on the other hand serves under terms and conditions that have been agreed upon. Such a servant has working hours, wages and day off. Slaves have none of these. Slaves must work in the field during the day and when the day is over they must wait on their masters. But at the same time our relationship with God should be the image of a servant. Slaves often serve their master grudgingly, against their own will and merely for fear of punishment. But we are supposed to serve the Lord with joy, willingly and out of love and thanksgiving.
God has given us far more than we deserve—life in this world and eternal bliss in the next. When we realize that all that we are and all that we have, including our life to come as free gifts from God, then we can begin to serve God in thanksgiving for what God has done and not as service for which we deserve to be paid in return.
Jesus came to serve and not to be served. Even though he was the Master, yet he washed the feet of his followers and in so doing invites us to follow him along the path of humble service.
If we can have faith the size of a mustard seed, we should be able to move the mountain of pride which makes it so hard for us to appreciate and live out our calling as servants of the servants of God.
Let us today ask God to increase our faith so that we can render God total and unconditional service by our works and prayers (24/7) 24 hours a day, seven days a week.