Tuesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time – Lk 12:35-38
We could say that the theme of today’s Gospel is “watchfulness,” to be awake and ready for when Christ comes. The instructions to the servants, “to have their loins girded,” reminds us of the Passover in Exodus; in fact, the Church calls the end times of the world, when the Church will suffer great persecution, the “final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection” (CCC 677). In the Gospel, Jesus refers to His second coming as “a master returning from a wedding.” The implication is that the master is the one who just got married, since Jewish weddings were held at night, and the servants would need to be awake to let the bridegroom in with his new wife. It’s interesting that Jesus chose the image of a wedding to describe the return of the King of Heaven: often, when we think of the Second Coming, or of our judgment, we think of this as something bad, or something we need to be afraid of. Yet, the image of a wedding is a joyful one: we’ve all been to weddings, and we know the joy to be found in seeing a man and a woman promise their exclusive love to one another in the presence of God, their families, and their friends. There’s usually good food and conversation, and a lot of people to visit with. This is the image that Jesus uses to describe the second coming, and not just here, but through the Old and New Testaments God’s coming is compared with a wedding feast.
What really gets our attention, though, is what happens next: “Amen, I say to you, [the master] will gird himself, have the servants recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.” This is completely the opposite of what we expect. The master is coming into his house with his wife, and, yet, it’s the master who waits on the servants, and not the other way around!
In this, we see that Christ will come to reward us according to our deeds: “since we are weary [from our labors], He will comfort us, setting before us spiritual banquets and spreading an abundant table of His gifts” (St. Cyril of Alexandria).
If we find ourselves worried about Christ’s second coming, or thinking that this would be a bad thing, the problem isn’t with the Second Coming; the problem is with the way we’re living. Let us ask, through the intercession of Mary, Queen of Heaven, for the grace to live in such a way as to merit the rewards of eternal life.