Both stories by Jesus have in common the behaviour of the servants when the Master is absent. The householder who is prepared for any break-in by a thief and being careful. And then the bullying behaviour of the chief steward towards the lesser servants. Both speak about what will happen when the Master returns.
For us, however, the Master is never absent. Jesus is always just alongside us, watching what we are doing. It’s not a matter of asking “Would you do that, act like that, behave like, that if Jesus was here?” Well, Jesus is always ‘here’, always present. – And not as a critical and punishing judge watching to catch us out, but as a ‘helping hand’, a concerned friend. As kids playing, or rather playing up, 60 years ago, Mum’s ultimate warning was “wait till your Father gets home?” A bit unfair on poor old Dad, but it worked a treat.
And, even if we have failed, when the Master comes, it will always be with understanding, forgiveness and a second chance. Not with wrath, hellfire or a box across the ears.
Fr Tom McDonough CP the Parish Priest of St.Brigid’s parish Marrickville.