The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, Book III Chapter XXXVIII: “The Good Government of Ourselves in Exterior Things and of having Recourse to God in Dangers” (first entry)
Kempis here has Christ speaking of the necessity of us being “lord and master of your actions.” This is where true freedom is found. Temporal things that draw us away from God are distractions — they are only good when they bring us closer to the Lord, or at the very least, do not lead us away from Him.
|Today’s Gospel reading: Mt 24:42-51
The message of the Gospel is a vital one: be always prepared to meet the Lord because we don’t know when that day will come. If a homeowner knows a thief is planning to break in that evening he keeps watch to prevent it from happening. If a steward is doing his job well he will make sure the household is in order in case the master comes back unexpectedly; if the steward is negligent, the master, finding his affairs in disarray, “will punish him severely.”
How is it that we are best “prepared”? By not permitting ourselves “to be drawn away by temporal things.” The wicked servant in the Gospel allowed his own passions to overcome him in spite of his duties. He lost his job and was punished severely. We do not want to be that man! We want to “distribute…[the]…food,” that is those gifts we have been granted us by God, “at the proper time.” We “draw these [temporal] things to serve that end” to which the Lord intends, not, like the bad servant, toward our own ends. Then we will be properly prepared for that day that “the Son of Man will come.” We don’t know when the end of time will arrive, but we know that surely that the end of our time on earth is inevitable. On that day, can we claim to have been good and faithful servants?