A HOMILY FOR THE THIRTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME-CYCLE “A” –11/16/14- SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
A couple of months ago, I was watching some of our pre-school students play a rousing game of musical chairs. And one of the funniest parts of it, was that several of the children were playing it for the first time. So the teacher put on the music, and they start their marching around the chairs, and when the music stopped, several of them just stood there. The teacher had to tell them several times to take a seat. And then they began to understand the game, when somebody didn’t get a seat, and they were out of the game. That realization brought with it tears, and hurt feelings, and whole lot more competition to get a seat when the music stopped. At first, the children were so surprised when the music stopped. Their surprise was part of the reason that they didn’t know what to do. As the game went on the children began to expect, even anticipate, the music stopping. They would become anxious, listening for the music to stop so that they would know to sit down quickly on a chair. They didn’t want to be caught off guard. As I watched all this unfold in front of me, I thought that it is a wonder that the politically-correct fun police today even let kids play musical chairs today. I’m surprised that they don’t see it as too anxiety-driven or too aggression-producing for kids today.
I thought of those kids and musical chairs when I was reading our readings for Mass today, especially St. Paul’s first Letter to the Thessalonians. Just like in musical chairs, there will come a time for all of us when this life stops, and St. Paul seems to be asking us, then where will you be? Will there be a seat in the Heavenly Kingdom for you? Or not? The important part of this life is for us NOT to forget where we are headed and for us to prepared for the end. St. Paul says that we are NOT in darkness, and we should not let that day overtake us like a thief. We are children of the light and of the day. Therefore, we are supposed to stay sober and alert. We should be ready for the music to stop. And that’s nothing for us to be afraid of either. There’s nothing to worry about if we’re ready and prepared. Then let us make sure that we are ready and prepared. Even musical chairs is a lot more fun, if you’re listening closely, paying attention, and prepared to jump on a chair. As Catholic Christians, we must be prepared to jump on Heaven!
Then, in our Gospel today, St. Matthew is reminding us of much the same thing. He tells us Jesus’s parable of this man who is going on a journey, and who entrusts his possessions to his servants. And then he goes away with the promise that one day he will return for his goods. Each servant is entrusted with so much, each according to their abilities, according to the story. Now, here’s the thing. They know he is coming back. They know that what he has entrusted to them, doesn’t belong to them. They are only holding the man’s valuables for a little while, until he gets back. And when he gets back, they will be held accountable for what they did, with the man’s talents. Again, just like in musical chairs, one day, some day, the music is going to stop and there is going to be an accountability. There is a judgment coming. Will these servants be ready? Well, two were. One was not. One wasted his Talent and his time. And there was wailing and grinding of teeth! Not good. Not good.
All of this, all of these readings, as we come to the end of our liturgical year, is meant to remind us that one day a day of reckoning is coming for all of us. If we forget that, if we get caught up in the music of this world, when that day comes, we could be in big trouble. But if we’re ready, if we’re prepared, if we are anticipating our Master’s return, then we won’t be caught off guard! And there is absolutely nothing to worry about at all. And if we remember way back to the last time that we played musical chairs, isn’t that exactly how we learned to win that game too? We must be ready for the music to stop. There will be a place for us. But we’ve got to be ready!
Let us be ready. Let us always be busy living the Christian life and building the Kingdom of God, so that no matter when Jesus returns, we are ready to go home!
May God bless us and help us to be His Holy People, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!