Blessed is the good servant! (Lk 12:43-12:43)

“Blessed is that slave

Whom his master

Will find at work

When he arrives,”

 

μακάριος ὁ δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος, ὃν ἐλθὼν ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ εὑρήσει ποιοῦντα οὕτως.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that this slave would be blessed, happy, or fortunate (μακάριος ὁ δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος) if his master or lord arrived (ὃν ἐλθὼν ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ) and found him doing his work (εὑρήσει ποιοῦντα οὕτως).  There is a similar saying about this parable of the good slave in Matthew, chapter 24:46, almost word for word, indicating a possible Q source.  In Matthew, Jesus said that this slave would be blessed (μακάριος ὁ δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος) if his master came and found him at work (ὃν ἐλθὼν ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ εὑρήσει οὕτως ποιοῦντα).  Everything would be wonderful if the master or lord of this slave came and found him diligently at work.  Are you always diligent at work?

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The rebuke of the slave with one talent (Mt 25:26-25:27)

“But his master replied.

‘You wicked slave!

You lazy slave!

You knew,

That I reap

Where I have not sown.

I gather

Where I have not scattered.

Then you ought to have

Invested my money

With the bankers.

On my return,

I would have received

What was my own

With interest.”

 

ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ εἶπεν αὐτῷ Πονηρὲ δοῦλε καὶ ὀκνηρέ, ᾔδεις ὅτι θερίζω ὅπου οὐκ ἔσπειρα, καὶ συνάγω ὅθεν οὐ διεσκόρπισα;

ἔδει σε οὖν βαλεῖν τὰ ἀργύριά μου τοῖς τραπεζείταις, καὶ ἐλθὼν ἐγὼ ἐκομισάμην ἂν τὸ ἐμὸν σὺν τόκῳ.

 

This parable is unique to Matthew, but there is something similar in Luke, chapter 19:22-23.  Jesus indicated that this master was not happy with his slave who hid his talent money.  This lord or master responded to this slave (ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ εἶπεν αὐτῷ).  He called him a wicked lazy slave.  He knew that this master was a hard man, since he reaped where he had not sown (ᾔδεις ὅτι θερίζω ὅπου οὐκ ἔσπειρα).  He gathered where he had not scattered (καὶ συνάγω ὅθεν οὐ διεσκόρπισα), repeating his own words.  The master then told this slave that he should have at a minimum invested his money with the bankers (ἔδει σε οὖν βαλεῖν τὰ ἀργύριά μου τοῖς τραπεζείταις).  Then, at least, when he returned (καὶ ἐλθὼν ἐγὼ ἐκομισάμην), he would have received his money plus the earned interest on it (ἐκομισάμην ἂν τὸ ἐμὸν σὺν τόκῳ).  This master was a harsh but generous slave owner.

The unforgiving servant slave (Mt 18:28-18:30)

“But that same slave,

As he went out,

Came upon

One of his fellow slaves.

He owed him

A hundred denarii.

He seizing him.

He started choking him.

He said.

‘Pay what you owe.’

Then his fellow slave fell down.

He pleaded with him.

‘Have patience with me!

I will pay you.’

But he refused.

Then he went.

He threw him in prison

Until he would pay the debt.”

 

ἐξελθὼν δὲ ὁ δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος εὗρεν ἕνα τῶν συνδούλων αὐτοῦ, ὃς ὤφειλεν αὐτῷ ἑκατὸν δηνάρια, καὶ κρατήσας αὐτὸν ἔπνιγεν λέγων Ἀπόδος εἴ τι ὀφείλεις.

πεσὼν οὖν ὁ σύνδουλος αὐτοῦ παρεκάλει αὐτὸν λέγων Μακροθύμησον ἐπ’ ἐμοί, καὶ ἀποδώσω σοι.

ὁ δὲ οὐκ ἤθελεν, ἀλλὰ ἀπελθὼν ἔβαλεν αὐτὸν εἰς φυλακὴν ἕως ἀποδῷ τὸ ὀφειλόμενον.

 

This parable about the unforgiving servant slave is unique to Matthew.  Just as this servant slave was leaving his master (ἐξελθὼν δὲ ὁ δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος) after having a $15,000,000 debt forgiven, he ran into a fellow slave (εὗρεν ἕνα τῶν συνδούλων αὐτοῦ).  This fellow slave owed him a hundred denarii (ὃς ὤφειλεν αὐτῷ ἑκατὸν δηνάρια), about $150.00.  He seized him or took hold of him (καὶ κρατήσας αὐτὸν).  He started to choke him by the throat (ἔπνιγεν) and told him to pay what he owed (λέγων Ἀπόδος εἴ τι ὀφείλεις).  Obviously, he was using strong arm tactics to intimidate his fellow slave.  This fellow slave responded by using the same routine and words as he had just done to the king.  Then his fellow slave fell down (πεσὼν οὖν ὁ σύνδουλος αὐτοῦ).  He pleaded with him (παρεκάλει αὐτὸν λέγων) to have patience with him (Μακροθύμησον ἐπ’ ἐμοί) because he was going to pay it back to him (καὶ ἀποδώσω σοι).  However, the result was completely different.  Instead of forgiving his fellow slave, he refused to do that (ὁ δὲ οὐκ ἤθελεν).  He threatened him (ἀλλὰ ἀπελθὼν) and put him in jail or prison (ἔβαλεν αὐτὸν εἰς φυλακὴν) until he would pay off his debt (ἕως ἀποδῷ τὸ ὀφειλόμενον).

The priests despise the name of Yahweh (Mal 1:6-1:6)

“‘A son honors his father.

A servant honors his master.

If then I am a father,

Where is my honor?

If I am a master,

Where is the respect due me?’

Says Yahweh of hosts

To you.

‘O priests!

You despise my name!

You say.

‘How have we despised

Your name?’”

Yahweh said that a son honors his father, just like a servant honors his master.  Yahweh as a father and master wanted to know why he was not honored or respected.  He aimed his question at the priests, since he felt that they had despised his name.  The priests wanted to know how they had despised his name.

Swearing oaths (Sir 23:9-23:11)

“Do not accustom your mouth

To oaths!

Do not habitually utter

The name of the Holy One!

As a servant,

Who is constantly under scrutiny,

Will not lack bruises,

So also the person

Who always swears,

Who utters the Name of God,

Will never be cleansed from sin.

Whoever swears many oaths

Is full of iniquity.

The scourge will not leave his house.

If he swears in error,

His sin remains on him.

If he disregards it,

He sins doubly.

If he swears a false oath,

He will not be justified.

His house will be filled

With calamities.”

Sirach does not want us to get accustomed to swearing oaths to the Most Holy One. If you swear too much, you are a like a servant under constant scrutiny who gets bruised by his master. So too, anyone who swears by the Name of God will never be cleansed from their sins. If you are always swearing to God for this or that, you will be full on iniquity, since the scourge will never leave your house. You can actually sin by swearing in error. Then you can double you sin by not fulfilling the false oath that you swore. You will never be justified since your house will be filled with calamities.