In the recently-released movie, The Martian, the hero, mistakenly left for dead in a remote place, must rely on his own resources to survive. With only his own abilities and what he can scrounge – or ingeniously create – from the abandoned equipment around him, he builds and plants his own greenhouse to raise food. We would expect, I suppose, nothing less from a highly-trained botanist/mechanical engineer astronaut marooned alone on Mars.
Today’s Gospel reading reminds us that the gifts of God also come with expectations. When the Master returns from the wedding, he will greet us servants joyfully; and, in a bizarre turn-around, serve us as we recline at table – but only after the reckoning of past accounts. He is merciful, but also just. “All good gifts around us,” reads the hymn We Plough the Fields and Scatter, “come from heaven above.” Let us resolve, then, to use those daily gifts mercifully, justly, and thankfully, as the heavenly giver of them expects of us.
—Gregory Ostdiek, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic teaching science to inquiring minds at Loyola Academy, Wilmette, IL.