Parables Of JesusThe Gospel Of Saint Luke

The Servants Await Their Master | A Parable

Luke 12: 35-38


35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;
36 And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.
37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.
38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.

Jesus tells us to be vigilant. In Christ’s time, when the Jews would usually wear long, flowing garments, it was the practice to hitch them up, to gird oneself, in order to be ready to perform certain kinds of work. To gird oneself, therefore, and to keep lights burning, meant to be ready for action. Before the flight from Egypt, at the moment of the Passover, the Israelites had to gird themselves, to be ready to be able to leave immediately (Exodus 12:11).

The watchfulness of the servants expresses love for their master and a spirit of prayer and fortitude in faith. So we must be always preparing for Christ, even as we live in his Kingdom, his Church, so that we may be ready for his definitive coming. We may live in a joyful state of high expectation: this next moment in time may be the one.

We have, then, a promise of happiness. Our service to our master becomes reciprocal: the master becomes the servants’ servant. We are reminded of Christ’s words to his disciples telling them that the Son of Man came to serve, and that they are called to a life of service in the world. We are reminded of Christ’s washing the disciples’ feet at the last supper. Our joy is an exchange of love and service.

The Song of Solomon expresses the sleeplessness of a lover awaiting the return of his beloved:

2 ¶ I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.
3 I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?
4 My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.
5 I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.
6 I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.
7 The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.
8 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of love. (Song of Solomon 5: 2-8)