Frj82’s Blog

November 17, 2008

Sermon – 33A Sunday Ordinary Time

Normally, I wouldn’t publish a sermon online because I very rarely write them out anymore.  I preach off scratch notes because it allows me to look at people rather than paper.  Here is what I preached yesterday, the 2nd to last Sunday before Advent.  If you want to read along, here is a link to the Mass at St. Stanislaus. 


“For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but form the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”  These words are taken from the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew, chapter 25. 


My brothers and sisters, we have a group of readings and a theme to Holy Mass today pertaining to our responsibility as Christians.  In the first reading from the book of Proverbs, we read of some of the values, attributes, and positive traits of having a wife…but also some warnings.  The casual message that we can pull from this is something that all the married men here today know as well as any gospel – that a good woman, or wife, is worth more than her weight in gold. Or, as scripture says “When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls” (Prov 31:10). 


The second lesson, from Saint Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, reminds us of last week’s gospel of the ten virgins waiting late at night for the bridegroom to return.  “For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night.  When people are saying, “Peace and security,” then sudden disaster comes upon them, like labor pains upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape” (1Thes 5:2-3).  Saint Paul continues on to write about being of either the light of the day or the dark of the night.  This can mean many things, but the easiest way to understand this in our terms today are those who are “in the know” and those who aren’t, or those who have yet to see the light of Jesus Christ. 


We are reminded though, that to be called to follow Jesus Christ is just that – a calling…or coinciding with the theme of our Mass today, a responsibility.  Two verses read today, the Gradual and Alleluia were from Saint Luke’s Gospel, and they both speak to our responsibilities as Christians.  “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much.  And still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more” (Luke 12:48b).  And “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it (Luke 11:28).  It is our job to use the unique gifts crafted by God and bestowed upon us for the betterment of His creation.  Likewise, we are to use the Word of God, those Holy Scriptures, as a compass or a map of how we are to proceed doing this. 


As we make our way to today’s Gospel reading, we must take note of our individual Christian responsibility – whether it is being a priest, and helping the people understand their faith and to impart the Sacraments, or whether it is to be involved in Parish Committees or organizations, to donate more, to educate yourself about your Church, to ask questions, offer more time, etc.  Everyone knows what they bring to the table, per se.


This all makes the parable of the talents interesting.  A talent is a substantial amount of money – throughout history, it represented anything from a week’s worth of wages, a month’s worth, or, as our Old Testament reading brought to mind, the weight of a person in gold.  So, this master entrusting eight talents to three servants was quite the gesture of honor and trust.  But the story we see unfold almost seems unfair.  Two servants risk their master’s money in investments, eventually doubling what was originally entrusted to them.  The first servant doubled five to ten, and the second two to four.  However, the third servant…maybe he had an eye ahead to the autumn of the year 2008, I don’t know…he took that talent and buried it because, well, his master entrusted him with that money and he wanted to keep it safe. 


Upon the master’s return, the first two servants are lauded for their prudent investing while the third is berated for returning the original sum.  Take a moment…what would you do?  I think most of us would be like servant number three…not wanting the screw up things for our master rather than risk everything that had been entrusted to us. 


This parable is a reflection of the kingdom of God.  In the English language, it is quite ironic that the word talent means what it does, like, an ability, as opposed to this monetary sum.  In our language, we could see a great lesson in this teaching of our Lord and Savior.  Do we take the “talents” that are entrusted to us and use them for the good of the church?  God gave us our gifts, our abilities, our talents.  Do we use them for the betterment of those around us, or simply for our own benefit, or like the third servant, the easy way out?  God has given us so many gifts, be it personal, intellectual, physical, or even material things.  Do we use them in the way we should?  This is something we think about as we reflect on the past couple weeks, the rejected virgins who forgot to bring oil and this third servant who was too lazy.  Let us use those examples as a compass, and use them to steer away from what was brought upon them, a life away from the kingdom of God.  Amen.


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