Homily for Mass, Franciscan Missionaries of Mary Convent, Ottawa

[Readings: 1 Thess 3:7-13;  Ps 90;  Mt 24:42-51]


The Gospel we have just heard sets before us the challenge that there isn’t a moment when we should not be ready for Jesus, our Master, to return.  When he comes he wants to find us at our duties of being his disciples, and having been at our duties all along.


The slave who is blessed is the one who gave his fellow slaves their allowance of food at the proper time.  As we know from other gospel texts, our eternal fate does depend on what we’ve done to others, or not done.  If we are to be the blessed slave who gave to others their allowance of food at the proper time, then we have to give what has been entrusted to us.


That means, if we’re still here on earth today, then we still need to be giving to others.  At no time can we slip into laxity because of the supposed delay of Jesus’ return: mistreating others;  giving way to a dissolute life in some manner.


What “food” have we received, then, that we are to give to others  at the proper time?  Firstly, and probably most importantly, is love.  In family life, in religious life, in human life in general: how many opportunities are we given every day to show love to others?  Do we make the most of those opportunities … or do we get wrapped up in ourselves that those moments are lost.


We have received the message of salvation, the Word of life, the truth of the gospel.  That is something that is meant to be shared, at the proper time:  Helping other people understand the truth as Jesus did;  Leading others to the Father of love and mercy.


The two saints honoured by the church today were examples of wise and faithful slaves put in charge of the master’s household.  St Louis of France, through all his labours as king was always at the Lord’s work.  The priest, St Joseph of Calasanz, realized that the Lord wanted him, personally, to see to the education of poor children, and he responded to that call.


Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves their allowance of food at the proper time?


Today each of us can be that wise and faithful slave, eagerly at the work that God wants us to accomplish today.


We have no reason to fear the return of the Lord if we are simply doing what he wants us to do, all the time.


May St Louis and St Joseph of Calasanz intercede for us today, that we might be wise and faithful servants of the Master, faithfully doing the work the Lord calls us to today.