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Friends, today’s Gospel describes the obedience of a faithful servant. Our lives are not about us; they are about the King. We are built not for commanding others but for obedience. In the presence of the awesome lordliness of God—that mind and will whose grandeur we cannot fathom—we bow, we listen, we surrender.

The Lord is the King, the one who commands, directs, and oversees, and who, accordingly, demands obedience. For a military tribe such as the ancient Hebrews, this term had, to be sure, an especially powerful resonance. The proper response to a king is obedience. The king commands, and the servant responds—simply, promptly, unhesitatingly. A courtier or a messenger might not understand the rationale for or consequences of what the king has told him to do, but he does it, trusting in the wisdom and power of the one who sends him. The word “obey” is derived from the Latin obedire, to listen attentively, to heed. In the presence of God the Lord, we his servants should listen, bending our ears and our wills to his word.