“When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’” Jesus uses an example in our Gospel today of hard-working servants. Jesus affirms their master for not rewarding them because, after all, hard work is just their duty as servants. We might well be offended by this example! Affirmation and praise are expected in our culture. Well, it might help to know that Jesus’ illustration was likely aimed at the Pharisees of his day. They performed virtuous acts of Jewish law in order to preen themselves as examples for others to imitate. For us, this uncomfortable example that Jesus uses reminds us that obedience and duty belong in our discipleship lives. Discipleship is dedication or commitment to something larger than ourselves. Consider parents. They dedicate themselves 24/7 for many years to their children. If they are lucky, when those children are older, it might occur to them to say, “Thanks, mom and dad, for your service!” The kingdom is that “something larger than ourselves” for Jesus and his followers. It is that “vision” our Hebrew Scripture today talks about that “still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint.” Jesus dedicated himself to a vision of a kingdom not of this world. For the sake of it, he accepted crucifixion, as his “duty,” in obedience to that vision. I hope, like me, you have met dedicated people during your life. Those I have met are usually very humble people. They see the bigness or importance of what they dedicate themselves to and, for them, just being able to serve is their thanks. We can only pray that people who know us as followers of Christ see that kind of dedication in us!
— Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia; photo by J. Amill Santiago on Unsplash