Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle C

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

rembrandt_jesus.jpg

 Luke 12:32-48

“There is no need to be afraid”

This liberating word of Jesus comes at the end of a passage in which he has been speaking to his disciples about the anxieties and worries that trouble most people. He has urged us to put them into a wider perspective which includes the providence of God. The liberating element of his message is that it offers an alternative to the anxieties and fears that confront us – to put our trust in a Father who is all for us, “for it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom”. God is not a reluctant benefactor – it pleases him to be generous, to give freely, graciously. Where God is concerned, all is grace.

In response to the grace of God Jesus expects his disciples also to be gracious, quite simply to be like their Father by embracing the values of the kingdom. He does not seek to liberate us from the pressures of material and worldly concerns by imposing a different set of burdens on us. Instead he invites us to put our heart into what really matters, thereby storing up the sort of treasure that will have eternal value.

All of this is for him a matter of trust, like the servants who are always alert for the arrival of their master, or like the steward to whom the master has entrusted care over his household. Because they have responded faithfully to being trusted they are to be rewarded. Here we see the liberating truth, why there is no need to be afraid – before we have done anything at all to deserve it, God trusts us, each one of us. That is true foundation of our relationship with God – not our trust in God but, firstly, his trust in us. As the popular hymn puts it: our own trust in God is only a shadow of his trust in us.