As a volunteer chaplain I visit a county hospital, and so each week I meet people who have just been diagnosed with a terminal illness. We all know theoretically that our life is finite, but when that knowing stops being theoretical, it is always a shock. When that happens to me, will I regret wasting any of my one, precious lifetime? Our Sunday Scripture is urging us to live so that our answer will be a confident “no!” And to live that way, we need to live as servants, prepared for the arrival of the master, doing that which we are charged to do as we wait. Jesus tells two parables about this, one gentle parable, one fierce — the latter sometimes not read if the shorter version of the Gospel is used. In both parables the message is to use our time wisely — as servants. Serving is a privilege, but perhaps we see it as an obligation and an intrusion. And so we may put off service that our baptismal call prompts us to do, put off things we don’t want to deal with or things that would be good for our souls and our relationships. These can be ordinary things such as affirming someone, reading to a child, picking up a little extra food for the parish food pantry, writing a letter, inviting someone to dinner, joining a committee trying to effect good in our world, listening and talking to a spouse or child when I’m tired or busy … and then suddenly there is no time for a do-over. Are we, in the words from our Gospel, servants ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks?
– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia