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Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Eph.3:2-12 & Lk. 12:39-48

Saint Paul could never quite understand why God had favoured him to carry the Gospel to the Gentiles. He considered himself the least of all believers, and yet God had chosen him to carry out a plan so bold that it caught everybody by surprise. God had always intended to bless all the nations of the Earth through His chosen people, but the Jews had always assumed that meant the nations of the world must first be converted to their religion.

But God revealed to Paul His plan to accept all who followed His Beloved Son - whether Jew or Gentile – into His own family. Paul simply did not feel worthy to be entrusted with that great task. After all, he had persecuted the Church and slaughtered Christians before he had met the risen Christ on the road to Damascus.

There is a great lesson here for all of us who are feeling left out or put down by life. God can use anybody if they will simply give themselves to Him. The success of God’s work in the world has never depended on attracting the rich and the famous. A poor Roman Catholic nun living in the slums of Calcutta has had a greater impact on the world than a dozen of her richest contemporaries. God can get things done in the world as long He finds a few people who are willing to put the needs of others ahead of everything else in their lives. That’s what Paul did and the world has never been the same since. One strict fanatical Pharisee persecutor of Christianity became the greatest poet of love and preacher of humility the world has ever known. If God could use Paul, He can use anybody!

What happens when a parent's back is turned or a teacher leaves the classroom for a few minutes? Youngsters get up to all kinds of mischief! That was how the unreliable servant was behaving in today's Gospel story. He had been given a position of trust but when the master was absent he abused it. God gives each one of us a task He trusts us to get on with the minimum of supervision. We like to think of ourselves as adults but when we fail to do what God expects of us we behave like irresponsible children.

It is sometimes said that the Church treats us like children, telling us what to do as, for example, when we were asked to abstain from meat on Fridays as a form of penance, remembering that was the day on which the Lord died for us. Then the Church decided we could choose our Friday penance - but how many Catholics failed to do anything special? That is why the Church once again asks us to refrain from eating meat on Fridays.

The Church is our Mother and she knows how weak we, her children, can be. We would like to be faithful servants but sometimes we need a nudge in the right direction. That is why the Church lays down guidelines and rules for our own good, encouraging us to persevere with our tasks. Through her teaching and the Sacraments she constantly helps us to become spiritual adults who can be trusted to stick to our employment. The Lord will come to ask us to give an account of our life and Jesus warns us that it will be at an hour we do not expect. So we must try to be ready for His coming.

Lord Jesus, may we never forget that You are always watching us, because we fool ourselves if we think You are not. If we are aware of this we will perform our tasks on Your behalf as well as we can, and be ready for whenever You ask us to give an account of our lives.

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