“When the cat’s away, the mice will play.” Another rendition is: “When the cat’s away, the mice turn to rats.” We tend to abuse privileges when authority is not present.
Consider school days: As soon as the teacher walked out the spitballs started flying, loud talking, getting up from the seat. When the teacher retuned, the halos went back on with the look of innocence on every face. “Who was talking? Who was yelling?” No one was willing to own up to bad behavior. I never misbehaved. Better said, I never got caught. Human nature does not change much. Our Lord knew that we were going to mess up. Yet, He still left us in charge of His Church. He is the Master and we are the servants. Just like in the story, some of us reenact the description of the faithful servants while others are unfaithful. “My master is delayed in coming.” Does God care about mass shooting? Why doesn’t God stop the violence in our world? Because God has put His house in our hands. We are in charge, for better and for worse. We have no one to blame but ourselves. Pollution, contaminated rivers, wars—whatever is happening is our responsibility. Lots of folks think that God isn’t watching. Of course He is. God holds us in existence. If not for His grace we wouldn’t even be here. But God will not control us. He does not take away our free will, even when we disobey Him. Certainly the Lord does not want us to be faithful because we are afraid of Him but because we love Him. God seeks a personal relationship with each of us. The more that we know the Master, the less ignorant we are about doing His will. The Master wants us to get along, especially in our family—which is one of His greatest gifts. The family is God’s first idea.
The Church is made up of families. We are as strong as our weakest family. No secret—almost every family is under attack. Statistics speak for themselves. We can blame television, the economy, our parents. But ultimately each of us is responsible. Weather we are a spouse, child, senior citizen—we all have a part. How can we hope for peace in the world when we have domestic violence? How can we hope for peace when there is violence in the womb? The greatest crimes happen in our own back yard but do not make the headlines. First responders are aware—police know the injustice that occurs in abusive homes.
Folks keep quiet. They don’t want to send a relative to jail, bring shame upon the family, or see no way out of the madness. In the story Jesus warns about the consequences of those who disregard the Master’s trust. Not to be taken literally, but we know that there are consequences to all of our actions, good and bad. How we treat one another makes an impression, especially on young minds. Generations down the road will speak about how great-grandparents loved or did not love—were faithful or unfaithful—believed in God or did not believe. What we often take for an insignificant action—like a kiss, a hug, a kind word—will be remembered by family members whom we thought were not listening. They will also remember bouts of rage. Many of our families are hurting. The Master is not going to do any magic in order to fix what He has left in our hands. We have the power to say, “I’m sorry, please forgive me.” We have the power to guide our children. And we most definitely have the power to change our own behavior. All of us fit in the story that Jesus shared. A story that continues today. The Master is coming back, we do not know when. The Master loves us, even if we have failed and continues to give us opportunities to improve.
We have been given much, therefore we know that much will be required.