Christ in the Gospel shows God’s mercy in an interesting, almost stern way. He tells us that our good actions do not deserve God’s gratitude to us, for they are simply the obligations of creatures to our Creator—a servant to a Master. We cannot come close to giving our Creator that which we owe Him, as even the tiniest of our sins would have made necessary the saving act of Christ for our salvation. Still we must strive to act justly towards God by giving Him everything that we can give Him, and even that would not be enough without His mercy.
At the end of the day, we will have to say to Him, “We are unprofitable servants, we have done what we are obliged to do.” (Luke 17:10)
Yet most of us cannot even manage to do simply what we are obliged to do for Him. We have neglected part of our duty in our lives. We left some task unfinished. We forgot to call the person we knew was suffering. We did not make the effort to love our family as we should. We did not honor our parents. We lead those close to us to bad habits and did not call them on them. We neglected to make it to Mass on Sunday. We became so swamped in our sin that we were unwilling to exert ourselves to go to Confession.
The sheer amount of effort it takes for us to even attempt to do what we are obliged to do for God is just proof that any reward He gives to us will be out of the abundance of His mercy. Yet, despite the fact that we are His unprofitable servants, He still loves us, and He provided a way to bring us to Him.
He saw that we could never overcome the divide between humanity and Himself through our own efforts and chose to become a man, suffer, and die in order to bring us back to Him. Everything He has given us and will give us is a complete gift—especially the reparation for our sins. He does not ask that much of us in return, only that we do what we are obliged to do.
In what ways are you able to do what you are obliged to do for God? In what ways are you failing? How can you honor Him through your vocation more fully?
Susanna Spencer once studied theology and philosophy, but now happily cares for her three adorable little girls, toddler boy, and her dear husband in Saint Paul. She loves beautiful liturgies, cooking delicious meals, baking amazing sweets, reading good books, raising her children, casually following baseball, and talking to her philosopher husband. You can find out more about her here.