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Gospel for Sunday, August 7 Luke 12: 32-48

XIX Sunday C

32“Do not be afraid, little flock, because it has pleased your Father to give you his kingdom. 33Sell what you have and give it as alms; make for yourselves bags that do not age, an inexhaustible treasure in the heavens, where thieves do not come and moth does not consume. 34Because where your treasure is, there your heart will also be. 35Be ready, with your belt around your hips and your lamps lit; 36be similar to those who wait for the master when he returns from the wedding, to open the door immediately, as soon as he arrives and knocks. 37Blessed are those servants whom the master finds still awake upon his return; I tell you the truth, he will put on his robes and have them sit at the table and come and serve them. 38And if, arriving in the middle of the night or before dawn, he finds them like this, lucky them! 39Know this well: if the owner of the house knew what time the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40You too be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour you do not think.” 41Then Peter said: “Lord, are you saying this parable for us or for everyone?”. 42The Lord replied: “Who then is the faithful and wise administrator, whom the Lord will place at the head of his servants, to distribute the food ration in due time? 43Blessed is that servant whom the master, upon arriving, finds at his work. 44Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45But if that servant said in his heart: The master is slow in coming, and began to beat the male and female servants, to eat, to drink and to get drunk, 46the master of that servant will arrive on the day he least expects it and at an hour he doesn’t know, and will punish him rigorously by assigning him a place among the infidels. 47The servant who, knowing the will of the master, does not dispose or act according to his will, will receive many beatings; 48the one who, not knowing it, has done things worthy of beatings, will receive few. To everyone who has been given much, much will be asked; to whom much was entrusted, much more will be required.”

Luke 12: 32-48

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (www.buonabibbiaatutti.it).

Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.

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THE TRUE FINANCIAL INVESTMENT

The New Testament proposes a very particular management of economic assets: the sky is the true financial investment, the true bank, the place where it is best to make capital work:

“Sell what you have and give it as alms; make for yourselves bags that do not grow old, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven” (Lk 12,33-34); “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves neither break in nor steal. For where your treasure is, your heart will be there also” (Mt 6:19-21). Sirach had already said: “Go ahead and lose money for a brother and friend, don’t let it rust uselessly under a stone. Exploit riches according to the commands of the Most High; they will be more useful to you than gold” (Sir 29,10-13). Paul writes to Timothy: “He advises the rich in this world… to enrich themselves with good works…, thus setting aside good capital for the future, to acquire true life” (1 Tim 6,17-19) .

Augustine states: “Do you care about accumulating treasures? I don’t tell you: “Give up!”. Rather, I tell you “where” to do it… Where do I tell you to accumulate treasures? Store up for yourselves a treasure in heaven where no thief can approach nor woodworm or rust compromise.”

Basil writes: “If you have donated to the hungry, the gift becomes yours and is returned to you with interest. Just as the seed, sown into the furrow, is a source of profit for the one who sowed it, so the bread offered to the hungry will later make you an abundant profit. Stop, therefore, cultivating the fields and begin sowing for the sky. In fact it is written: “Sow to yourselves in righteousness”… Eternal glory, the crown of justice, the kingdom of heaven will reward your administration of these corruptible goods”; “The Lord teaches that riches that are dispersed are possessed; but if they are preserved, they pass on to others. If you keep them, you will not have them, if you scatter them, you will not lose them: “He gives generously to the poor, his justice remains forever” (Ps 112,9)”.

Renunciation for love is therefore an eschatological sign of the presence of the Kingdom: “The refusal of riches and brotherly love towards the derelict neighbor is the sign of availability for Jesus and openness to the Kingdom that comes” (J. de S. Ana ).

Monsignor Tonino Bello also said: “Becoming poor means lighting a road sign to indicate to distracted travelers the “symbolic” dimension of wealth, and making everyone aware of the significant reality that lies beyond. It means, ultimately, becoming a living parable of “furtherness”. In this sense, poverty, before it gives up, is an announcement. It is the announcement of the Kingdom that will come.”

WHILE WAITING FOR THE COMING OF THE LORD

Today’s Gospel makes us meditate on the definitive coming of the Lord. It will be a splendid moment, it will be the arrival of the long-awaited Groom who – incredible! – In the immensity of his love for him, instead of asking to be served, he will begin to serve us, his servants!

The Eucharist celebrates the joyful expectation of the definitive encounter with God: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes” (1 Cor 11:26). After pronouncing the words on the cup, Jesus states: “I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the Kingdom of God” (Mk 14:25). This eschatological hint is present in all the narratives of the institution of the Eucharist, to the point that some Eastern liturgies include this verse in the consecration formulas.

Cardinal Pellegrino wrote: “It seems possible to you… celebrate Mass and then dive into the reality of every day, allowing ourselves to be swallowed up by the things that pass, without raising our heads in vigilant waiting – the “apokaradokìa” of which Paul speaks to the Romans (8.19 ) – to Him who will come to take us with Him, «and so we will always be with the Lord» (1 Thess 4,17)…? Just as the apostle longs to set sail from the port of earthly existence to “be with Christ” (Phil 1:23), the Christian fully aware of his vocation knows what the “impatience of God” means…, the “querere Deum” of the psalmist…, the image of the deer that longs for the source of living water (Ps 42)”. This is why in the Eucharistic liturgy of the first Christians the cry rang out: “Maranatha! Come, O Lord!” (1 Cor 16,22).

We have lost this dimension of waiting: instead “the characteristic of Christians is that they wait” (Schlatter). Or sometimes we await the coming of the Lord with the boredom with which… we wait for the tram at the stop. Today’s Gospel invites us to enthusiasm, to joyful vigil, to emerge from a “sleeping” Christianity (Mt 24.42; Rm 13.11), to wait for the Lord with the anxiety with which a lover waits for a lover (Song 3.1-4; 5.2), the bride is the Groom, the only one who can give us meaning, liberation, fullness of life, Love.

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at migliettacarlo@gmail.com.

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