Here beginning to reflect on next Sundays readings, Ordinary Time 27 C. We come to the end of the great supper that began in Luke 14. These are the last verses, before Luke 17, 11 where Jesus returns to the road to Jerusalem; he will arrive in Chapter 19. These last verse set at the supper of the Pharisee,

The disciples request the gift of faith; Jesus offers them a saying about an uprooted mulberry tree planted in the sea. Then he has a final parable about masters and servants, stewardship and discipleship. He applies the parable to them in the summary statement in vs. 10. “When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.'” Service to the gospel, best done without expectation of reward, is faithful stewardship and truly done out of love.

At the dinner most of the material in some sense deals with the Pharisee in front of all the guests. It challenges them, their view of religious practice, their politics, and their values structure. In some sense the followers of Jesus are mostly listening to the teaching; it may have set up a tension between and among the groups at the supper. The followers of Jesus clearly would have identified with the lost lamb, coin, and son, the clever servant, the poor man Lazarus. Yet, now at the end of the supper, Jesus turns his attention to them when they request an increase of faith. He reminds them of the challenge they also face in the reign of God. In other words he is not easy on us, for we are just the servants he describes at the end of his sayings.

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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