Jesus said to the Apostles:
“Who among you would say to your servant
who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field,
‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’?
Would he not rather say to him,
‘Prepare something for me to eat.
Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink.
You may eat and drink when I am finished’?
Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?
So should it be with you.
When you have done all you have been commanded, say,
‘We are unprofitable servants;
we have done what we were obliged to do.'”
17:7–10. Jesus is not approving this master’s abusive and arbitrary behavior. He is using an example very familiar to his audience to show the attitude a person should have towards his Creator: everything, from our very existence to the eternal happiness promised us, is one huge gift from God.
Man is always in debt to God; no matter what service he renders him he can never adequately repay the gifts God has given him. There is no sense in a creature adopting a proud attitude towards God. What Jesus teaches us here we see being put into practice by our Lady, who replied to God’s messenger, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord” (Lk 1:38).
Friends, as is often the case with Jesus’ more difficult parables, we have to pay careful attention to today’s Gospel story. It’s all about justice, which is rendering to each what is due—a good and noble thing. When justice is your primary consideration, you are basically in charge, morally speaking. But what Jesus is doing today in this striking and annoying story is to shake us out of that understanding of our relationship to God.
The point is this: God owes us precisely nothing. Everything we have, including our very existence, is a sheer gift. We are in absolutely no position ever to demand anything of God. To move into this space is to move out of the stance of faith. And so no matter what God asks, the proper response is, “I am an unprofitable servant; I have done what I was obliged to do.”
– Bishop Robert Barron
May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.