Scripture: Romans 6:12-18. Psalm 124: 1-3,4-6,7-8. Luke 12:39-48.
Recently, I asked a friend what book she was reading. She replied “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens. The phrase then kept coming back in my own reading and as I read the Gospel for today I realized that Jesus had great expectations of Peter and the other apostles and disciples and, of course, of each one of us who believe in Him. The reading from Paul also struck me as his great expectations for those who had come from the dead to life, that is, from sin to grace.
From Paul I learned that to be a servant of justice one must stop sinning in all domains of life. My way of checking on this type of sin is by relating the sin or sins as to God, self, and neighbor. I do a little spell check on sin before retiring and relate it to self, God, and neighbor. As Paul says in our selection from Romans he expects us to be persons who have come back from the dead to life. We are conformed to Jesus once we leave sin behind and receive the grace of his love and redemption.
In the Gospel Peter asks about Jesus talking about the return of the Son of Man (Jesus in his Second Coming) and how he has great expectations for his followers to be vigilant lest we forget who we are called to be. A servant leader like Peter and the followers of Jesus like the disciples and apostles are to live up to these great expectations of our Lord and Savior. Jesus answers Peter with another parable that brings home the point even more. The teaching about vigilance is meant not only for Peter and the disciples but for the “whole world” as Peter asks in his question about whom the parable(s) is directed to. We learn that God does love everyone but some have specific roles that demand more of them. Great expectations are demanded of them. They have been entrusted with more, thus more is expected of them.
I asked myself do I have great expectations about my spiritual life? Am I using my talents to be a servant of the servants of God—friends, fellow brothers, sisters, and others whom I teach or minister to? Do they have great expectations of me and how do I handle that type of a feeling or awareness of them in my life?
In turning to the Psalm I found the response helps me not to lose heart with all these expectations whether great or moderate or minimal. “Our help is in the Name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.” This psalm, according to the liturgists, is considered in the monastic tradition to be a remedy for sleepless nights when anxiety, fears, doubts, and responsibilities invade our minds and trouble our hearts. Verse 8 is so centered on God that it inspires confidence in our prayer and banishes the troubles like wind blowing clouds away. After tossing and turning, I come to realize it is best to remember to pray this verse 8: “Our help is in the Name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Amen.”
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.