(June 15)

”…And that servant who knew his master’s will, but did not prepare or act according to his will, shall receive a severe beating. But he who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, shall receive a light beating. Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required; and of him to whom much is entrusted, they will demand (αἰτήσουσιν) the more.” (Lk 12: 47-48)

Ouch! As Shakespeare put it, “Uneasy is the head that wears a crown,” – also in the whole business of stewardship or kingship in God’s “house.” And we all wear that “crown,” anointed as we are in Holy Baptism, to a “royal priesthood” (1 Pet 2: 9) in the various, smaller or larger areas of God’s “house,” in our different vocations. And the larger these areas are, over which one is given increased “oversight” (epi-scopacy, which means “oversight”) that is connected with the gift (and cross) of more-than-average “knowledge,” -because one (over)sees more, – the greater are the “beatings” one suffers, already in this world, for those inevitable, human shortcomings of daily work. Knowledge entails suffering, while ignorance, as they say, is bliss, or in any event, as the Lord says, just “a light beating.

So today let me give others and myself a break, in the different areas in which we are given “much,” – to leaders in the Church; to political leaders; to the leading minds in academic fields; to teachers and parents and bosses in our workplaces, and so on. We all receive “beatings” already here, not from God, but from “them,” as the Lord says in the passage above; from other people’s demands of us: “Of him to whom much is entrusted,” says the Lord, “they will demand the more.” I think this is one of the lessons of tomorrow’s Sunday before Pentecost, dedicated to the “Fathers” of the 1st Ecumenical Council: while we far more easily notice and remember what church-leaders (and other kinds of leaders) do wrong, here we take pause to celebrate an occasion when they got together and did something right.

Let us give one another a break today, so that our merciful Lord does the same for us, as He wants to, if only we open our hearts to mercy. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”