Surely you have already heard of the commission of God's grace that was given me for you, and how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I wrote above in a few words, a reading of which will enable you to perceive my understanding of the mystery of Christ. In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that is, the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
Of this gospel I have become a servant according to the gift of God's grace that was given me by the working of his power. Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him.
Truly, God is my salvation,
I trust, I shall not fear.
For the Lord is my strength, my song,
he became my saviour.
With joy you will draw water
from the wells of salvation. (R./)
Give thanks to the Lord, give praise to his name!
make his mighty deeds known to the peoples!
Declare the greatness of his name,
sing a psalm to the Lord! (R./)
For he has done glorious deeds,
made them known to all the earth!
People of Zion, sing and shout for joy
for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel. (R./)
Jesus said to his disciples: "Know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour."
Peter said, "Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for everyone?" And the Lord said, "Who then is the faithful and prudent manager whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their allowance of food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find at work when he arrives. Truly I tell you,he will put that one in charge of all his possessions. But if that servant says to himself, 'My master is delayed in coming,' and if he begins to beat the other servants, men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and put him with the unfaithful. That servant who knew what his master wanted, but did not prepare himself or do what was wanted, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know and did what deserved a beating will receive a light beating. From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.
The parable seems to say that the Lord is absent, far beyond our ken. Ephesians offers another view: we already have Christ within us, and what we are still seeking is the fullness of his presence.
In a sense, we are to live each day as though the Son of Man were already at the door, just ready to come home after a long absence. Like the loyal servants, we must be ready when he comes. However hearty and healthy we may be, we know how fragile life can be and "We know neither the day nor the hour" when we may be called to God.
Ephesians looks to the far horizons, lost in mystical insight into the eternal mind of God. It is studded with expressions like: God's secret plan, the mystery of Christ, the unfathomable riches of Christ, the mysterious design hidden in God, the Creator of all. God's age-old purpose controlled the making of the universe. His providence now guides the world, whether people realize it or not, accept it or not. His Son Jesus is bringing new life to people and places where we would least expect. Such is "God's secret plan." Everyone from any nation who welcomes the Gospel has personal access to God who rules over all.
We don't much like to be taken by surprise. We like to know what is coming and be ready for it. But the unexpected often happens, as is considered in today's parable. The burglar breaks into a house when we least expect it. The owner arrives home at a time when his careless servant is fast asleep. There is an element of the unexpected in our relationship with Jesus.
The Son of Man comes... We may apply this to the hour of our death, for sudden, unexpected death is always possible. But the imagery can have a more positive meaning. The Lord comes to us in many ways, over the course of our lives. He may inspire us to do something we had not thought about before, or draw us down a path we might not have chosen ourselves. He can come to us through unexpected encounters, even with people who do not share our faith. At any time, expect the unexpected, because God's ways are not our ways. But it's all for the good!