The Gospel reading from the Mass for Thursday of the 21st Week of Ordinary Time is Matthew 24:42-51.

After revealing the violent worldwide turmoil and coming judgment of men in Matthew Chapter 24, in the first of three parables, Christ exhorts men to live moral lives at all times for no man can be certain when they will meet Christ in their inevitable judgment.

In the Parable of the Faithful and Unfaithful Slave, Christ emphasizes the need for men to be watchful, to be morally upright at all times and to do the work that Christ has given them to do. Christ (the Master or Lord) will bless and reward those good men/fathers/priests (servants) who diligently care for their families/communities/Church (household Christ has given them) and give their families/communities/Church both bodily and spiritual nourishment (food). Men who do Christ’s will with faith and prudence will be rewarded richly in Heaven (blessing/set him over all his possessions).

In contrast to the “good man”, evil men/fathers/priests (wicked servants) ignore Christ (Master/Lord is delayed) abuse (beat) their families/communities/Church (fellow servants) and engage in immorality (eat and drink with the drunkards). Christ (Master/Lord) will come unexpectedly (unexpected day/time), judge and send the evil men to Hell (punish severely; in Greek, “cut him in two”).

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of Man, Christ reveals that He will come again. Divine King, Christ proclaims that He is “Lord” and “Master.” Divine Teacher, Christ reveals the kinds of moral behaviors He expects of disciples and offers parables that connect with men. Divine Judge, Christ confirms some of the criteria by which He judges men and the reality of great rewards and severe punishments.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) in the fragile sensitivities of the post-modern culture (think “safe spaces”), even some bible translations soften Christ’s language.  In this parable, Christ uses the Greek word meaning “to cut him in two” in reference to the punishment for evil men.  Realize that Christ would not use such harsh words unless He was deadly serious about sin. Repent and be vigilant.

2) Christ warns that He will come to Judge each man when He is not expected. Renew your understanding of Christ’s Parousia (Second Coming) (CCC 673, 830, 1001, 1021-1022, 2612, 2760) and pray for Christ to help you be prepared to meet Him at the hour of your death.

3) Notice in the parable the good men are not passively watching, but actively doing the things that the Master has given them to do. Renew your understanding of your responsibility to aspire to Christian Holiness (CCC 2012-2016) and pray for Christ to give you the strength to be a faithful Catholic man who diligently do the work He has given you to do.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Luminous Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Holy Eucharist

Virtue of the Day – Fortitude

Corporal Work of Mercy – To shelter the homeless

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To bear wrongs patiently