When the Master Returns

08-11-2019(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

When I speak or write about key differences between us and our protestant brothers and sisters, my intent is not to drive a wedge between us. We certainly have much in common and must join together in our fight for life, morality and religious freedoms. There are many holy men and women in other denominations. Yet, it is important to understand there are differences and why we believe what we believe.

Toward the end of Luke 12, we read the following: “Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute the food allowance at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so. Truly, I say to you, the master will put the servant in charge of all his property. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, to eat and drink and get drunk, then that servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish the servant severely and assign him a place with the unfaithful. That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly.”

Jesus is giving four examples of what happens when the master returns. If he finds his servant faithful and prudent, the servant is blessed. This is how heaven works.

If he finds the servant assuming the master will not be back for some time, abuses others, and uses the master’s provisions entirely for himself, the servant will punish the servant and cast him out with the unfaithful. This is hell.

Jesus gives us two additional scenarios that explain a tenant of Catholic teaching. If the master finds the servant knew his will, but didn’t make proper preparations, he will be beaten severely. And if the servant was ignorant of the master’s will and acted in such a way that he deserved a severe beating, he will only be beaten lightly. This is purgatory (and even describes the role of culpability - responsibility in proportion to what you know).

May we all live our lives learning as much as we can about our Father’s wishes and live as faithfully to them as possible. Furthermore, help us spread His wishes to others with grace, love, and tact.

Questions? Comments? Email David at dlins@oloj.org.