I think all of us probably feel that Gospel lesson is a bit harsh where Jesus says, “You’re only servants; don’t expect anything. You have just done what you’re supposed to do.” But if we listen carefully to all the lessons today, I think we will put that in its proper context and understand what Jesus is trying to remind us of, because these lessons today are about faith. Faith — that virtue that we call one of the primary virtues: faith, hope and love — believing, trusting, faith.
Each of the lessons shows us a little bit different way about faith. See, I think that first lesson is pretty obvious. The chosen people are living in the midst of extraordinary turmoil. There’s violence and suffering everywhere. In fact, it’s not much different from what we observe going on in the Middle East right now — with the killing, the violence, the destruction of people’s lives, going into exile everywhere — and not only there, but other parts of the world, too.
In the midst of that turmoil, the prophet says to the people two things. First of all, he says, “There is a vision; God is at work in the world, so stir up that vision. It’s there; it’s very plain, even.” The prophet says, “Write down the vision and scribe it on tables so it can be easily read. This is a vision for an appointed time. It will not fail, but will be fulfilled in due time. If it does delay, wait for it, for it will come and will not be deterred.” So the first thing is that we must work within ourselves to bring forth the vision of what God intends. Even in the midst of all suffering, turmoil, violence, killing, God has a vision for us….