Be Vigilant and Faithful Servants
Deacon Patrick Constantino | Photos courtesy Patrick Constantino
Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them. And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants. Be sure of this: If the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come. Luke 12:35–40.
We are in difficult times, we need to be vigilant and faithful servants. Our Gospel tells us, we must be “vigilant and ready to expect any challenges that is ahead of us.” Our reward from God will be the good things we did for Him. We know not the time and place when we will meet our Lord, only He knows. But let us be ready for his calling. And let us be prayerful and vigilant in our faithfulness to our Lord Jesus Christ. May God guide us in this time of trouble and hardship. Let us honor our past and live in the present in spite of problems in our world and confront them head on. We will survive and make a difference if we help and stick together. Our successes or failures will help us prepare for a better world and a better future. The Gospel shows disciples what they should be afraid of, namely, when Jesus returns, He will find them going about their business instead of His. In this passage, faithful servants are those who are ready for action. They “gird their loins,” a phrase that means to bind up excess clothing so one can move more freely and go to work. By extension, the phrase means to prepare oneself to do God’s will each day by removing whatever thoughts or excuses hinder their doing so. Faithful servants also keep their lamps lit to light the way for Jesus’ return. They are ready to open the door the moment he knocks. What a surprise they will get when Jesus exchanges roles and immediately becomes their servant, when he girds himself, has them recline at the table and waits on them. Jesus answers Peter’s question indirectly, making it applicable to both community leaders and all his disciples. All are in some way responsible for taking care of the needs of someone else, and in modern times extends to the global community. All, like the master of the household in Jesus’ parable, serve and must one day answer to the household’s lord. This Gospel shows how the delayed fulfillment of divine promises—here that Jesus will return—can wear down disciples’ faith and weaken their dedication to the mission He gives them. Some, for example, begin to mistreat other members of the Lord’s household or are sidetracked by human pleasures. They “eat and drink and get drunk.” Such actions display a lack both of faith in Jesus and of conviction He is alive and will indeed return. Jesus warns His disciples those who live as if this world were all there is, who seeks its treasures and pleasures instead of heavenly ones, will be shocked when He shows up and judges them, removing all delusions they are His disciples. He will assign them an unchangeable and eternal place with the unfaithful. Their punishment will be harsher than that of other wrong doers who were ignorant of Jesus’ will. Jesus reminds us today discipleship is extremely demanding and the kingdom is a gift whose value exceeds all others. More is demanded of Jesus’ disciples than of other people—more service, more slavery. Blessed are they whom He finds ready to work and with their lamps lit when He returns. Jesus I trust in you! Amen!
On July 1, 2022, Patrick Constantino retired as a Deacon for the Roman Catholic Church in Hawaii, after serving for thirty-five years and becoming on June 18, 1987, the first Deacon of Filipino ancestry for the Roman Catholic Church in Hawaii. For twenty-two years, he served as Administrator at Holy Rosary Church in Paia, St. Rita Church in Haiku and St. Gabriel Church in Keanae. His last assignment before retiring was at St. Joseph Church in Makawao.
Prior to his ordination, Constantino was in government–first appointed in 1966 as Assistant Sergeant of Arms by the Speaker of the House Elmer F. Cravalho. When Cravalho became Maui’s first Mayor, Constantino became his Executive Assistant–the first of Filipino ancestry. Later, Constantino became the first County Treasurer of Filipino ancestry and the first County Grants Administrator and Risk Manager of Filipino ancestry.
Constantino is married to his lovely wife Corazon for sixty-one years.