Tuesday of week 32 – Titus 2:1-8,11-14; Ps 36:3-4,18,23,27,29; Luke 17:7-10

We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which we ought to do. (Luke 17:10)

The quotation above comes from the Douay-Rheims Version of the Bible, and many older translations are similar in a more literal translation. And I’m focussed on the word ‘unprofitable’. ‘Merely’ doesn’t get to the meaning at all. So, what is unprofitable? At most it means not producing more than is given.

Jesus identifies His apostles as servants who are to do what is their responsibility to do. Without complaining or waiting for some accolade. Because whatever service we give, whatever good we do, come from the grace God gives to us and so is for His glory and we add nothing. In this way He shows them what real service is. This lesson relates above all to the missionary tasks of His disciples that He has entrusted to them, such as spreading the kingdom of God, caring for the people entrusted to them, being ready to serve others and nourishing them with the Eucharist. The disciple must be aware that what they achieve is not the product of his wits, intelligence, experience or knowledge. But only because he was sent by the Lord and has to seek the strength, support and fortification in Him.

This call to service reminds me strongly of a biography of Dr. James Campbell, entitled, To the Glory of God and the Service of Man. His life was recognised as having humble origins and progressing to be an accomplished and compassionate cardiologist. The characteristics seen in him were excellence of care, efficiency, compassion, adaptability, devotion and humility in that he viewed all he had as gifts for others.

Todays Gospel in an invitation to specific deeds of service for God’s glory.

Lord, fill my heart with love, gratitude and generosity. Make me a faithful and zealous servant for You. May I generously pour out my life in loving service for You and for others, just as You have so generously poured Yourself out for me.