By Ken Asel
A Reading from the Gospel of Matthew 24:45-51
45 “Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves their allowance of food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions. 48 But if that wicked slave says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ 49 and he begins to beat his fellow slaves, and eats and drinks with drunkards, 50 the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know. 51 He will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Only ten days to go! What is God, this stirrer of the world, up to? Matthew provides a clue. The master of the house has left the slaves to care for his property. “Care for my processions while I am away,” he asks. “If not, someone else will.” Baron von Hugel, a 19th-century Roman Catholic mystic, was frustrated by the mystery of evil and suffering. It is into this quandary that the Angel Gabriel visits Mary with other women of Nazareth (according to some traditions) early one morning to gather the day’s water from a stream. A small Orthodox chapel still exists on this site, where pilgrims make visits to pray. It is in the midst of this daily task that Gabriel approaches her, saying God has answered his people to set the world to rights once more, and Mary is to be the miraculous instrument to do so. “Be it done unto me, according to your word,” is her reply.
And, 10 days out from Christmas, what does God ask of us? Throughout the ages, from Mary at the stream pouring water for the day, to cries pouring out this very morning for justice and healing and mercy, God looks at the world and proclaims his Holy Name over it, pouring out his promise. This is God’s household. What will he find us working at when he arrives? Will he find us ready to receive him?
Christmas is only 10 days away. Are you ready yet for that promise? Is the world ready? Angels are about to shout and the mountains are soon to be echoing their great delight, “Gloria, Gloria in Excelsis Deo!” Are we ready to join in with those heavenly creatures? Come. God will show us the way.
(The Reverend) J. Kenneth Asel, D.Min. is a retired priest of the Diocese of Wyoming. Devvie and he have been married for thirty years and reside on the Front Range with their granddaughter.
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Today we pray for:
The Diocese of Ikeduru (Church of Nigeria – Anglican Communion)
The Diocese of East Tennessee