Memory of the Church

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 24, 42-51

'So stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming.

You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what time of the night the burglar would come, he would have stayed awake and would not have allowed anyone to break through the wall of his house.

Therefore, you too must stand ready because the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

'Who, then, is the wise and trustworthy servant whom the master placed over his household to give them their food at the proper time?

Blessed that servant if his master's arrival finds him doing exactly that.

In truth I tell you, he will put him in charge of everything he owns.

But if the servant is dishonest and says to himself, "My master is taking his time,"

and sets about beating his fellow-servants and eating and drinking with drunkards,

his master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know.

The master will cut him off and send him to the same fate as the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The reading of the Gospel of Matthew that has accompanied us through this season is coming to an end. The Gospel passages we will read report Jesus’ words about the last days. We - Jesus warns - do not know the day nor the hour when these events will occur. Therefore what is asked of us is to be awake. It is almost like a mission that the Lord has entrusted to all believers. Jesus’ uses a parable of vigilance to explain this and says that every disciple is given a mission to carry out. It is not given to us to serve our own interests or our own self-realization, but to help the community of believers grow. It is good to remember that the Lord does not save us individually but by gathering us in a family, a people. It is in this sense that we should understand the parable that was just announced to us. Indeed, Jesus talks about the responsibility of watching over the servants and providing for their needs. In the Gospel, consequently, vigilance is not simply empty waiting, nor is it a busyness that is only directed at taking care of oneself. The vigilance of which Jesus speaks is an attentive and industrious faithfulness to the vocation which the Lord has given us to watch over the entire house, avoiding the attitude of both those who believe themselves to be masters and those who relax in laziness and irresponsibility. Each believer, no matter what task he or she has been given in the house, is responsible for all the other members of household. This is the true happiness of the disciple and his or her true self-realization, as Jesus himself says: "Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives." Unfortunately, selfishness easily prevails in us and leads us to toil for ourselves and our things, distracting us from the vocation the Lord has given us. This Gospel teaching puts us on guard against the religious individualism that has infiltrated the minds of many believers and that diminishes the substance of the Gospel and makes the community less strong. An individualistic Christianity gives rise to quarrelling and misunderstanding, abuse and envy, condemning us to the sadness and dissatisfaction of which the Gospel speaks. We will be blessed if we keep the vigilance of love in our hearts so that all will be welcomed, guarded, and defended.