Every generation seems to have a new voice proclaiming the second coming of Christ and the end of the world. For some strange reason we’re obsessed with end of the world stuff. The more violent someone envisions the end, the more we love it. My children, like many people, love “The Walking Dead.” This is just a new spin on an old Christian apocalyptic theme. Some are chosen, some are not, but either way death, destruction and hopelessness are pervasive. For the record, I’m good with not surviving the apocalypse, zombie or not.
I wonder how many see the irony of the reality show, “Doomsday Preppers.” The only people who will survive the apocalypse are those who spent the best days of their life prepping for the worst days. The survivors will be the people who don’t like being around other people. Now that will be a fun party.
Today’s reading does not help matters. Jesus warns us that when the master returns he better find the slaves working. Then tells us there will be heavy beatings, light beatings and chopping people up into pieces. This is really good inspirational stuff.
The most confusing aspect of this parable are the contradictions found in the verses leading up to it. Jesus tells us not to worry or be afraid. God will care for our every need. Because, it’s the master’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. So what is it? Don’t worry or get busy so you don’t get a beating?
Our obsession and fear of the end reveals something deep within us. On the surface, we fear being cut off. Under the surface, we struggle to believe anyone, especially God, could love us the way we are today. We have an even greater difficulty believing God will forgive us. So it becomes more comfortable thinking we need to do something radical to change. Then use fear as a motivational tool, knowing if we are destroyed, it’s only what we deserved in the first place.
In the midst of these words we find, blessed is the one who is doing their job when the master returns. (v.43) Your first job is to accept the fact that God loves you just the way you are. The next job is to accept God forgives those things which we cannot forgive ourselves. Then you are to share those words with others who are struggling just like you to accept them. These jobs help transform our life from fear into hope, peace, mercy and joy. Today, tomorrow and all the days through the end, you are loved and forgiven by God so be joyful. (Lk 12: 32-48)