1 Corinthians 1:1-9
Jesus’ last major discourse in the Gospel of Matthew foretells the destruction of the Temple (24:1-2), announces the signs of his coming and of the Great Tribulation (24:3-28), reveals the second coming of the Son of Man in power and glory (24:29-35), states that the day and the hour of his return is unknown (24:36-44), offers three parables about his return and the need for watchfulness (24:45-25:30), and concludes with the judgment of all nations (25:31-46).
The three parables “stress the need for watchfulness and preparedness in the time leading up to the coming of the Son of Man, who will call his disciples to account for their actions at his return. The day of reckoning will reveal that works of charity and compassion determine the Lord’s final verdict on our lives” (C. Mitch and E. Sri, The Gospel of Matthew, Baker Academic, 316).
Today’s parable contrasts the faithful and prudent servant with the wicked servant. The master of the house is Jesus, the household is the Church, the servants are his disciples. The good servant distributes food to the household; the wicked servant neglects his duty, harms his fellow servants and spends his day with gluttons and drunkards.
The distribution of food refers not only to earthly bread and to charity toward those in need, but also refers to the heavenly bread of the Eucharist. Man does not live on bread alone, but on every Word that comes from the mouth of God. The Apostles distributed bread at the miracle of the loaves and fishes and will be commanded by Jesus to celebrate the memorial of his Passover – Do this in memory of me – and to continue distributing the Bread of Life to the Church.
Paul shows himself to be a faithful and prudent servant who cares for the household of the Church in Corinth. He is concerned that they do not lack any spiritual gift during the time leading up to Jesus’ return in glory. He prays that they will be firm to the end and irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul speaks about the essence of our vocation – we are called to be holy in Christ Jesus and to live in communion with him. We become God’s children through the gift of divine grace; we are enriched by this spiritual gift and, through it, are introduced into the knowledge and love of God, who is faithful to his covenant of peace. As sons and daughters, we praise God and joyfully sing of his justice.
If Jesus were to return right now, how will he find me? Am I like the wicked servant, focused entirely on myself? Or am I striving to be like the faithful and prudent servant, focused on the needs of my brothers and sisters? Do I sing my own praises and seek earthly glory or do I sing God’s praises and seek to glorify God by my words and actions?
Readers may contact Fr Jason Mitchell at [email protected].