Burglar's scene,
Image taken from Ocean's 12, Directed by Steven Sonderbergh,
Produced by Jerry Weintraub,
Released in 2004
© Warner Bros. Pictures

Burglar's scene,
Image taken from Ocean's 12, Directed by Steven Sonderbergh,
Produced by Jerry Weintraub,
Released in 2004
© Warner Bros. Pictures

Gospel of 23 October 2019

If we had known what hour the burglar would come

Luke 12: 39-48

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what hour the burglar would come, he would not have let anyone break through the wall of his house. You too must stand ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’

Peter said, ‘Lord, do you mean this parable for us, or for everyone?’ The Lord replied, ‘What sort of steward, then, is faithful and wise enough for the master to place him over his household to give them their allowance of food at the proper time? Happy that servant if his master’s arrival finds him at this employment. I tell you truly, he will place him over everything he owns. But as for the servant who says to himself, “My master is taking his time coming,” and sets about beating the menservants and the maids, and eating and drinking and getting drunk, his master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know. The master will cut him off and send him to the same fate as the unfaithful.

The servant who knows what his master wants, but has not even started to carry out those wishes, will receive very many strokes of the lash. The one who did not know, but deserves to be beaten for what he has done, will receive fewer strokes. When a man has had a great deal given him, a great deal will be demanded of him; when a man has had a great deal given him on trust, even more will be expected of him.’

Reflection on the Film Still

Today’s Gospel reading tells us to be alert, awake, vigilant, ready.  With the start of each day, a new opportunity is given to us, to live our lives as meaningfully and fully as possible. The parallel Jesus draws with a robbery is a good one. A robbery would catch us by surprise and then really disturb us massively. We would blame ourselves for not having paid attention or not having been vigilant protecting our house. In that sense today’s reading is a direct call to responsibility. If we believe and know what is expected of us, but we fall short (by being unkind, lazy, unjust, cold, etc…), then we will be held to greater account.

The illustration above is taken from a scene from the film Oceans 12, showing how even with the laser alarms on, a burglar ultimately works his way through the house to steal artworks. The house master was unprepared even though he had made some precautions; the burglar was fully prepared though and ready to take possessions at the heart of the house… Jesus draws the parallel to our own hearts and warns what might happen to us if we are unprepared.

In our daily reflections I haven’t often mentioned film. However, film is one of the most powerful art forms in todays cultures around the world, with a mass following. It is an art form that stretches beyond barriers, cultures, countries, races and languages. It is an art form which as a Church we should take very seriously and be in the midst of. Films can reach people on iPads or TV’s at home; people who may never go near a church. So movies would give us very powerful witnessing tools to spread the Christian message to people who may be far removed from our faith. Even getting young people involved in producing such films, would make for a very exciting way to evangelise…

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