Wednesday after the Third Sunday in Advent
Scripture: St. Luke 12:35-59 (NKJV)
35 “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; 36 and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. 37 Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. 38 And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. 39 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 40 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
41 Then Peter said to Him, “Lord, do You speak this parable only to us, or to all people?” 42 And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? 43 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 44 Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has. 45 But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, 46 the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. 47 And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.
49 “I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished! 51 Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. 52 For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. 53 Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
54 Then He also said to the multitudes, “Whenever you see a cloud rising out of the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming’; and so it is. 55 And when you see the south wind blow, you say, ‘There will be hot weather’; and there is. 56 Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time?
57 “Yes, and why, even of yourselves, do you not judge what is right? 58 When you go with your adversary to the magistrate, make every effort along the way to settle with him, lest he drag you to the judge, the judge deliver you to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. 59 I tell you, you shall not depart from there till you have paid the very last mite.”
Each one according to what you have been given, be faithful!
Peter asks a question that gives us insight into how the language of Jesus works: “Is this for us or for all?” The answer is, “Yes…according to each one’s station.” That is, as in several other places, especially when our Lord addresses only the Twelve, there is a primary audience or referent for what He says and also a secondary audience or referent. The Apostles—and, thus, all on the Office of the Holy Ministry—are to be ever girded and ready, serving as they have been appointed, faithfully administering the Word of God to each one according to his need.
Thus, the pastor must apply the Law to condemn the sins of, especially, the hardened and the cold, and must supply the Gospel to the one with a terrified conscience. In one place, the Word must be spoken and explained; in another, perhaps a written form will better serve the sinner’s need for reprimand or for consolation; in yet another, it must be the Word being applied with an emphasis on what receiving the Lord’s Supper both does and indicates.
At the same time, the Christian who is not in the Pastoral Office is to be faithful in distributing God’s gifts in whatever sphere or realm of life he operates, according to his various vocations. The gifts of physical sustenance must be faithfully applied to one’s children, for instance, and so must be the gifts that build the faith as the parents lead their children in learning and confessing the Catechism, singing the liturgy and hymns, and so on.
Lord grant that we love You above all, knowing that we will only truly love and be of service to others when we do so from our love for and trust in You. Amen.