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  • Writer's pictureImmersed in Christ

“Subject us not to the trial”

Saturday, December 2, 2023

by Fr. David M. Knight

View readings for Saturday, 34th Week of Ordinary Time:

Lectionary no. 508 (Dn 7: 15-27; Dn 3: 82,83,84,85,86,87; Lk 21: 34-36)

The readings call us to persevere as “faithful stewards,” in faith, fidelity, and confidence, until Christ comes again. For this we pray in the Our Father: “Subject us not to the trial (“hard testing”) but deliver us from evil.” Or, in the translation adopted by the bishops of New Zealand, “Save us from the time of trial” (see R. Brown, “The Pater Noster as an Eschatological Prayer,” 6th Petition, p. 314 ff.).

Daniel 7:15-27 gives us reason to pray. Daniel was “terrified by the visions” he saw. But he was given reassurance: “These four great beasts stand for four kingdoms which shall arise on the earth.” Daniel watched as evil “made war against the holy ones and was victorious.” But only for a time, “until the Ancient One arrived.” Then “judgment was pronounced in favor of the holy ones of the Most High.”

Evil has a temporary victory. “But when the court is convened” we will be delivered from all evil. Evil’s power will be “taken away by final and absolute destruction.” Then “the kingship and dominion and majesty of all the kingdoms under heaven shall be given to the holy people of the Most High.” This answers the final plea of the Our Father, “Deliver us from evil.”

In Luke 21:34-36 Jesus urges us, “Be on guard; pray constantly for strength to escape whatever is in prospect.” Then he adds, “and to stand secure before the Son of Man.” What does that mean?

Jesus presents himself under various images: He will return, not just as victor, but also as a king who comes to settle accounts with those he left behind as “stewards of his kingship.”

He is like a “landowner who planted a vineyard, then he leased it to tenants and went to another country.” He returns “to collect his produce.” He wants us to be productive.

Jesus is the master who has put each one of us “in charge of his household” to be a “faithful and wise” steward, charged to give the other servants their allowance of food at the proper time. He has made us responsible for others.

Jesus is like a man “going on a journey,” who “entrusted his property” to his servants to invest, so that on his return he would “receive it back with interest.” He wants us to use all we have control over to further his interests.

He warns us not to say, “My master is delayed in coming,” and to “begin to beat the other servants and to eat and drink and get drunk.” This sounds like today’s Gospel: “Be on guard lest your spirits become bloated with indulgence and drunkenness and worldly cares.” To “stand secure before the Son of Man” when he comes, we need to keep aware of ourselves as “servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries” (Matthew 18:23; 21:33-34; 24:44-51; 25:14-30; Luke 12:45; 1Corinthians 4:1).

This means we have to keep working to bring every area and activity of human life under his reign until he comes again. This is faithful stewardship.

Action: Live your Baptism. Celebrate it at Mass.

Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry

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