Servants of the Master

November 14, 2023
Tuesday of the Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time
Readings for Today


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?” Luke 17:7–9

In most cultures today, the idea of having a servant whom you command to wait on you is far from ideal. Jesus uses this image because the people to whom He was speaking would have easily related. He used it as a way of humbling them because when the illustration is properly understood, He was identifying each one of them as the servant, not the master. Only God is the Master.

When it comes to our service of God, there is no limit to the commands that God will give. At first, that might seem harsh, but it’s not because the commands that God gives to us are dictates of perfect love. We need His commands. We need the order He provides. We need to enter into perfect obedience to Him. We need to listen to everything He tells us and obey it to perfection. Seeing God as our Master and ourselves as His servants will only appear harsh when we fail to understand what sort of Master He is.

Recall the beautiful words of our Blessed Mother when she was given the command from the Archangel Gabriel. The angel said to her, “You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.” This was not a question posed to her; it was a command of love. Mary did not hesitate and did not refuse. She said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

At the conclusion of today’s Gospel, Jesus went on to say, “When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’” In many ways, this is exactly what our Blessed Mother did. She was a servant of God’s perfect commands, and she knew that her love for God obliged her to follow His will.

When you think about your service of the will of God, do you see it as you doing God a favor? Do you see obedience to God’s dictates as an act of generosity on your part and your cooperation with those dictates as above and beyond your natural duties? Hopefully not. Hopefully you understand that you, like our Blessed Mother, are a servant of the one true Master of all. Hopefully you also see the commands of God as the roadmap toward a life of complete fulfillment. When we understand Who the Master is, we will never hesitate in being a servant, or even a slave. We will not hesitate in freely surrendering ourselves over to His will in complete and unwavering obedience. God alone knows what is best for us, and we need to give Him complete control over our lives.

Reflect, today, upon the image of a master and a slave. As you do, try to shed every preconceived image you have that includes harshness, cruelty, dominance and control. Instead, try to see the image of a divine Master Whose only concern is for the servant. Try to see a Master Who perfectly loves the servant. Reflect upon your own need for such a Master in your life. Pray that you will be able to surrender complete control over to God in all things so that He can direct your life into the glorious things He has in store for you.

My Lord and Master, You have commanded me and all Your servants to obey Your commands of perfect love. Your will alone is what is best for our lives and Your dictates bring fulfillment and purpose to our lives. May I, with Your Blessed Mother, always obey You in everything, for I am a servant of You, dear Lord. May I joyfully do what I am obliged to do. Jesus, I trust in You.

Prayers for Peace

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Featured images above: Fresco depicting Jesus Christ and the twelve apostles by Fra Angelico