UNPROFITABLE SERVANTS

Tuesday, 32nd Week in Ordinary Time         

            When students are unhappy with the teacher, their assignments, or their grades, some would pout and say, “I am not going to do my homework.” “I am not going to read this assignment.” As if that would punish the teacher or the school. The obstinate students are the ones punished when they do not study well.

            Such students are images of the “unprofitable servants” in today’s gospel parable. However, adults can be guilty of similar conduct regarding faith. When life is difficult, and burdens seem unfair, and prayers go unanswered, some say, “I am not going to church anymore.” “I am not going to say my prayers anymore.” As though such conduct will punish God, or make God suffer.

            Actually when we do such things, we are the ones who suffer. We suffer a loss of faith, a loss of God’s grace. We become the unprofitable servants that today’s gospel talks about.

            We are servants obliged to duty. Not doing our duty makes us unprofitable servants. The point of today’s gospel parable is this: Fulfilling our duty does not enrich God… it enriches us… it fulfills our life. When we do not perform our duty… for example, when we do not practice our faith in our daily life, when we do not share in the life and mission of the Church, when we do not practice the spirituality of stewardship, when we do not use our time, talents, and resources according to God’s purposes… we are unprofitable servants!

            Christianity is based on a service of love. A service of love enriches the loving servant. It makes the servant profitable. It is a service beyond duty or command. When we follow the commandments only out of duty, we fail to profit from our faith, we are then ‘unprofitable’ servants.” The Christian life is a commitment. It is a disposition of the heart, an attitude of life, that goes beyond rules and regulations. (Earl Meyer)

            One cannot legislate the essentials of Christian life: mercy, forgiveness, compassion, love. Such a life is not just about being correct. It is more about caring, comforting, serving.

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