“Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time” (Mt 24:45)?
Jesus is calling us to be that “faithful and prudent steward” and the household we are to serve is our own homes, churches, communities, states, countries, and world. For the world is our home and those we serve are our brothers and sisters. Jesus’ call is a universal call to solidarity. We are all invited to be united in this effort for and with one another because we are all created in the same image and likeness of our loving God and Father.
God has created us, not as automatons or robots, or drone worker bees. He has created us as unique persons, one of a kind, distinct wonders that have never been nor will ever be again. Within our uniqueness there is also the gift of diversity. We are not intended to be separate from one another, for God has created all of us to be interconnected, to be loved and to love. What affects one, affects all.
Jesus clearly emphasizes this distinction in his parable, often called the Judgment of the Nations, when he stated: “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?” And the king will say to them in reply, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Mt 25: 37-40).
Being faithful and prudent stewards, means being aware of and willing to attend to the needs of the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, those ill, and/or imprisoned, as well as so many others in need. How do we even begin to address the tremendous number of people who are hurting? First and foremost, may we resist being limited by numbers, but instead meet and engage with one person at a time. May we resist judging someone as other but instead see a brother or sister; may we resist tribalism and nationalism, and instead be guided by integrity to reach out to fellow human beings in Jesus’ distressing disguise; and may we not be limited by our prejudices regarding ethnicity, race, and/or religion and instead see people in need.
Not all of us will be moved in the same way or for the same cause, but let us be open to God who will guide us regarding how best we can serve, help, reach out, and give of ourselves to others. We can be most open when we have the humility to confess those areas of our brokenness in which we have turned within ourselves. May we reveal where we suffer from anxiety and fear that prevents us from stretching beyond our comfort zones, acknowledge where we have been unaware or indifferent, and/or even admit that we still harbor prejudice, intolerance, or bias.
As we are forgiven, as we experience the love and mercy of Jesus, let us draw strength from him, begin to see the dignity present in one another, begin to see others as God sees them, and begin to take steps to encounter and love one another. We will be faithful and prudent stewards as we respect the dignity of each person we meet, in thought, word, and deed.
Photo: Participating in our first Hunger Challenge collaborative with St Peter and Cross Catholic Outreach a little over a year ago.
Link for the Mass reading for Thursday, August 30, 2018: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/083018.cfm