November 7 – Tuesday of the Twenty-fifth Week after Pentecost (8th of Luke) Luke 12:42-48
On Earth as in Heaven: Luke 12:42-48, especially vs. 43: “Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.” This passage begins a series of readings from Saint Luke’s Gospel concerning those matters addressed in the Lord’s Prayer: doing God’s will, forgiving and being forgiven, and coping with evil. The Lord begins with the meaning of the petition, “Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” (vs. 11:2).
When we ask the Lord for His will to be done on earth, in us and through us, He will help us to keep His commandments. He will shower grace on us should we humbly and faithfully accept the sufferings required if we are to follow His orders.
Our Lord describes the servant who does His will as a “faithful and wise steward” (vs. 12:42). “Such men are few and far between,” warns Blessed Theophylact. “If the steward of the master’s holding is faithful, but lacks wisdom, the property is ruined because he is not able to administer it as he should . . . On the other hand, if the steward is a wise and able administrator, but is not faithful, he is no better than a thief, and the cleverer he is, the more disastrous the results” (Commentary on the Holy Gospel According to Saint Luke, p. 156).
Herein lies the key to diligently keeping the commandments: our efforts must be coupled with utter reliance on the wisdom and grace of God. “All the saints, as friends of God, make use of what belongs to God, their Friend,” Theophylact concludes.
The steward of God actively practices virtue and lives quietly and devoutly as God instructs him through holy tradition. By following these basic guidelines, the “friend of God” becomes a servant who controls the passions of anger and self-indulgence. Such a person draws strength from God, especially from the sacrament of holy communion, and has a genuine desire to make God-pleasing decisions at work, at home, and with everyone he meets.
“Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” is our pledge to commit ourselves to God’s wisdom. It is a promise to follow His ways and a willingness to manage whatever He places in our care. If we do these things, Christ may find us worthy of greater gifts and responsibilities (vs. 44).
The Lord Jesus contrasts the wise and faithful steward with the servant who does not make a truly wise commitment from his heart. The unfaithful servant may say “Your will be done,” but then, in his role as a steward, he “says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk” (vs. 45). He indulges his passions, lashing out at his fellow Christians. He lives willfully and irreverently, giving free rein to his desires.
Using this example of an indulgent servant, Christ encourages us to control our desires. Saint Paul tells us that if we “walk in the Spirit . . . you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal 5:16). We must prepare “for labor, sweat and struggle from your very first steps on the path. You must sacrifice everything to God and do only His will. Yet you will meet in yourself as many wills as you have powers and wants, which all clamor for satisfaction, irrespective of whether it is in accordance with the will of God or not. Therefore . . . it is necessary to stifle your own wills and finally . . . kill them altogether” (Saint Nikodemos, Unseen Warfare, p. 80-81).
To say “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” is a form of commitment to Jesus Christ. We agree to take up a struggle, maintain it for life, and quickly return to the Lord in repentance whenever we fail. Let us prepare for the coming of our Savior and make every effort to do our Master’s will so that we may be blessed and not “beaten with many stripes” (vs. 47).
O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, meddling, lust of power, and idle talk; but give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love to Thy servant. – Saint Ephraim the Syrian