The passage given above is the shorter version of the gospel reading. The theme of readiness for the coming of the Lord is generally to be found towards the end of the gospel story. This is clearly so in the gospels of Mark (chapter 13) and Matthew (chapters 24 and 25). In Matthew’s gospel the parable of the wise and foolish virgins describes the readiness of the wise virgins, who have brought oil with their lamps, to welcome the bridegroom. Here in Luke Jesus is still journeying to Jerusalem when he encourages all disciples to be ready with their lamps lit to welcome the return of the master from the wedding feast.
The disciple-servant must be ready for the return of the master, who will come and knock at the door. Such servants are declared blessed, but, in a surprising reversal, it is the master who puts on an apron and waits on the servants. This recalls the story of the washing of the feet of the disciples by Jesus in John’s gospel (chapter 13).
Jesus is described as the servant throughout the gospels. In Luke’s gospel he says to the disciples at the Last Supper: ‘Yet here am I among you as one who serves!’ (Luke 22:27).
The theme of constant readiness is developed by reference to the watches of the night. The second watch is from 9 p.m. until midnight, and the third watch from midnight until 3 a.m. The lateness of the hour underlines the sacrifice required of the servant in staying alert to welcome the master. A further short parable follows: the idea of a house being plundered once again encourages watchfulness.
The reading from the Book of Wisdom describes how the Israelites waited for deliverance on the night of the Passover. Christians have already experienced the saving death and resurrection of the Lord. Now we await his return.
Would it be accurate to say that I have my lamp lit to go out and meet the Lord?
Am I prepared to persevere in the life of faith with joy and hope?
We pray for courage for Christians who struggle with their faith.
We pray for the coming of the Lord.