A HOMILY FOR THE THIRTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “A” – 11/19/17 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
We come to Mass today, and we hear this Gospel parable, and it is as though, Jesus is asking each of us, what did you do with your gifts, your talents, your abilities, as you lived your life? We’ve heard this parable many times. And very important to this story, is the notion that the master is coming back at some point. There’s an accountability built into the responsibility. And implied with that accountability, is that each of the servants will have used the master’s money well, to make good things happen. We know well this kind of accountability. Our parents taught us this, when they left us a list of chores to take care of, while they were gone, that needed to be accomplished, by the time that they returned. My parents were experts at this. And as my brothers and I got older, the longer our lists got, as my parents realized that the busier my brothers and I stayed, the less time we had to get into trouble! Our teachers taught us this same lesson, giving us homework or an assignment, and fully expecting it to be taken care of, by the time allotted. We know our employers today, have expectations of us, getting work accomplished and done well and on time, and to keep the goals of our work, on track. We know about expectations. And honestly, we also know about accountability and ramifications. This allows us to understand the fear and caution, of the third servant.
And so, as the parable goes, the master leaves on a trip, but before he goes, he distributes this large amount of money, to these three individuals. Scripture scholars aren’t exactly sure what a talent was. We know it was a measurement of money in silver or gold, and that it was a lot of money! Some estimate it at around $1000.00, and other say it was much more like a Million dollars. I suppose it doesn’t matter much, for the simple people that Jesus was telling the parable to, folks who usually got paid just enough to make it to the next day, either one was a huge amount! It is also worth mentioning, that in the English language, because people were so familiar with this word from the parable, that in the Middle Ages, the English word came to mean the special gift or ability of being able to do something well. Thus here’s where we get our use of the word “talent”. It is not just a coincidence!
The truth is, that Jesus isn’t just talking about money here. In fact, Jesus in telling this parable, is talking about something way bigger than money! He’s talking about God’s grace, and mercy, and love, and life! In our lifetimes, God has given us so much, to get us home to Heaven. Are we wasting what God has given us? Remember all of Jesus’s discussions and arguments with the Scribes and Pharisees. Jesus would say that they wasted their gifts and talents. I think He would say that they wasted their lives! Would He say the same thing about us?
As we come to the end of this liturgical year, and as we get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving next week, perhaps this is a great time to ask ourselves, what are we doing with the lives that God has given us? Are we building His Kingdom? Are we giving Him honor and glorifying Him by our lives? Are we putting our gifts and talents out there, and using them, taking some risks, and investing them in the new and exciting ways? Or are we really just burying our gifts and talents, just like the scared servant from the parable?
Isn’t it interesting, that Jesus has such harsh words and reaction to the third servant, who only wants to give the master back all him money. What Jesus seems to want to make clear, is that the master doesn’t want his money back. He wants the servant, and God wants us, to use our gifts to help others and to increase them in ourselves. He doesn’t want us to bury them in the ground until we see the end is
near, and then we can dig them up and return them to the Lord. We have been told many times, that using the gifts we’ve been given, no matter what they might be, will help us be successful in this life.
Jesus reminds us today that He also wants us to be successful spiritually, using the spiritual gifts that we have been given: the Sacraments, the Sacred Scriptures, the time we have for prayer, our service of our brothers and sisters, and our following the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We have been given a lot! Sometimes we forget about those things, those gifts! And yet, in many ways, those gifts are what’s going to count and matter, in the Kingdom that is coming.
We are dealing with a God Who has very different values and expectations than this world does. He’s not going to care where we live. He’s not going to care what kind of car we drive. He’s not going to care where we buy our clothes, or our groceries, or our phones. We owe a very different kind of accountability to our God. Our time is passing very quickly. Are we ready to answer God’s questions about what we did with our lives? And if not, what it will take for us to get ready?
+ May God bless us today, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!