Biblical Readings for each day's Mass,
(for the Liturgical Year 2021)

Tuesday, October 19 2021
Week 29 in Ordinary Time

1st Reading: Romans 5:12, 17-21

Through Adam, sin and death came to us all; through Jesus Christ, grace far surpasses all sin

Just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man's trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many. If, because of the one man's trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

Therefore just as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man's act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. For just as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. But law came in, with the result that the trespass multiplied; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, just as sin exercised dominion in death, so grace might also exercise dominion through justification leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Responsorial: Psalm 39:7-10, 17

R./: Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

You do not ask for sacrifice and offerings,
 but an open ear.
You do not ask for holocaust and victim.
 Instead, here am I. (R./)

In the scroll of the book it stands written
 that I should do your will.
 My God, I delight in your law
 in the depth of my heart. (R./)

Your justice I have proclaimed
 in the great assembly.
 My lips I have not sealed;
 you know it, O Lord. (R./)

O let there be rejoicing and gladness
 for all who seek you.
Let them ever say: 'The Lord is great',
 who love your saving help. (R./)

Gospel: Luke 12:35-38

Good for those servants whom the master finds wide awake at his return

Jesus said to his disciples: "Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves."

Grace abounding

By the time Luke wrote his gospel, around 85 a.D., Christians were no longer obsessed with the proximate return of Jesus in glory. The idea of waiting for the Day of the Lord was no longer such an urgent hope among them. As with the petition for daily bread in the Our Father, they were aware of a daily presence of the Lord Jesus in their community and in contemporary events. We must still be waiting, yes, ready to open the door of our heart, and share what we have, should Jesus come even at midnight or before sunrise. If we live our daily lives well, we will be ready to welcome his special coming at the end of life.

In his brief reference to the master's return, Jesus overturns oriental custom in a remarkable way. When the lord of a large household returns from absence, his servants must wait on him. But Jesus imagines a reversal of roles. The master will put on an apron, seat the servants at table, and proceed to wait on them. It was exactly what he would do for his disciples at the last supper, and is an iconic example for us to imitate.

No one can go through life without some sharing of the cross. But our sacrifice is inspired by that of Jesus. The love of Christ forms our human race into a world family, just as God wants. As St Paul says in Romans, we are all descendants of Adam and are united still more by our bond with Jesus. Through Adam we share in the sins, prejudices and selfish pride inherent in human nature, but through Jesus there is an overflowing grace that can change our lives. The is the abounding, amazing grace of salvation, leading us towards eternal life.

One who serves

Imagine the master of a household putting on an apron, getting his servants to sit down at table and then waiting on them. The scene portrayed by Jesus had no place in the culture of those days. But it does remind us of how Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. Normally, the roles of master and servant are at opposite ends of a spectrum, but in Jesus they are combined.

The master shows this sign of honour to his servants in response to their faithful vigilance. The Lord who sustain us expects us to be faithful and vigilant, so that we are ready to open the door to him at any time. In the Book of Revelation the risen Lord says, "behold, I stand at the door and knock." Somehow Jesus is always knocking at our door. If we welcome his daily coming, he will serve and sustain us in all kinds of ways.