“Not to the East, but to the West.
>> Go the United States. There you will find the means, which will enable you to undertake the great field of work”
These were the words of Pope Leo XXIII to Frances Xavier Cabrini…
… the young sister who sought permission and advice for her newly-founded Congregation named the ‘Institute of the Salesian Missionaries of the Sacred Heart’
>> (later renamed the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus).
Wanting to go to China, the daring sister would listen “in humility and docility as a servant” to the prudent advice of the Holy Father…
… and the pioneering efforts of she and her sisters with a life of “self-effacement and abjection” would reach out to the thousands of Italian immigrants who were abandoned in ghettos, working at low-paying menial jobs and had no priests, teachers or doctors to care for them.
Frances Xavier Cabrini would go on to be the first naturalized citizen of the United States to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church, on July 7, 1946.
On this Feast day of this “Patron Saint of the Immigrants” who epitomized the values of obedience and humility, the Gospel of the Day presents the great reminder to all Christians:
“ Servanthood is an integral and intimate dimension in being a follower of Jesus Christ!”
The Lord in the Gospel today narrates the Parable of the Unprofitable Servant.
In this parable, Jesus tells about a servant who works all day long out in the field, or out taking care of the flock.
>> And after he works all day long, he comes into the house…
Is he expected to sit down and rest and eat his own meal? No
>> Rather, he is required to serve his master by providing him the meal first.
And after doing all that work – all day long – there’s no word of thanks, no gratitude.
Jesus closes out this parable by saying that the servant was unprofitable because he only did what he was told to do.
Is it something practical?
>> Is it something easy?
Our modern-day psychology would speak of the concept of a “positive stroke” that is to be given to those working or those who undertake some labour.
>> It’s important that the employers in a company are given a “positive stroke” by appreciating their good works…
>> It’s important that the servants in a house are given a “positive stroke” by encouraging with good words and a cheerful countenance…
>> It’s important that the workers in a firm or factory are given a “positive stroke” by acknowledging their worth and constantly boosting their confidence level…
But the Gospel of the Day seems to be demanding much more from a Servant who has dedicated one’s life for the Lord…
>> A servant who works whole day long ploughing in the field or tending the sheep…
>> A servant who delays his needs and instead prepares and serves meals for his master…
>> A servant, who after all his works, doesn’t expect words of gratitude…
The Parable is surely a tough one!
But, the One who preached this Parable is not a mere preacher, but is One Who practices!
Jesus, the one who preached this Parable, practised perfectly, this life of being a servant.
>> He is the Servant, who works in the field ploughing…
…sowing the seed of the Word of God, ploughing the Gospel in the hearts of people and toiling in the hot sun of oppositions and mockery
>> He is the Servant, who tends the sheep in the field…
…providing pasture for His people, protecting them from the wolves of the evil and going after any of the sheep which are lost in the wilderness
>> He is the Servant, who prepares a meal and serves at table…
…nourishing those at table with His own body, strengthening them with His own blood and constantly reinforcing in the journey of life
How are we to be such a Servant of the Lord?
1. Having a mind of being a Servant of God:
The world of a servant centers not around himself, but around the Master.
>> Whatever pleases the Master, the servant does.
If we truly acknowledge God as our Master, then we too…
…will do the works which please Him
…will think and seek to do His Will
…will speak the words which are worthy of His grace
2. Being Faithful in this task of being His servant
The world of a servant centers around total availability and openness to the needs of the Master.
If we truly accept God as our Master, then we too…
…will give ourselves to Him totally at all times
…will place His priorities over ours
…will avoid anything that blocks my complete service of Him
The Call is to be a Servant…who is dedicated and selfless.
>> Jesus is our model and example in being a Servant.
It’s a demand placed on us.
>> “ Servanthood is an integral and intimate dimension in being a follower of Jesus Christ!”
Let us seek the intercession of the Saint of the Day – St Frances Xavier Cabrini – and be inspired by her life and words…
>> “Rest?” We will have all eternity in which to rest. Now let us work.”
>> “Pray, pray always, and ask unceasingly for the Spirit of Prayer. The Spirit of Prayer means praying in accordance with the Divine good pleasure, willing only what God wills.
… It means that we have our minds fixed on prayer at all times, in all places, working, walking, eating, speaking, suffering; habitually and always.”
God Bless! Live Jesus!