Fr Vincent's reflections on the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

This is our final weekend before the Feast of Christ the King and the end of the Church’s Liturgical Year.  Once more we are warned of the judgment to come.  Are we too focused on taking care of ourselves, or, are we focused on using our resources to do the good which God wants us to do?

 

Watch the video: Fr Vincent's reflections on the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

Read the text

 

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time 2020

 

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.      R/.  Amen.

 

The Grace and Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.            R/.  And with your spirit.

 

On this 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, let us pray:

 

             Grant us, we pray, O Lord our God,

             the constant gladness of being devoted to you,

             for it is full and lasting happiness

             to serve with constancy

             the author of all that is good.

             Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

             who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

             one God, for ever and ever.                                                      R/.  Amen.

 

As before, if you don’t have your Bible with you, please pause this video to retrieve your Bible so you can follow along. 

The Gospel today is Matthew 25:14-30.

 

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew

      Jesus told his disciples this parable:

      “A man going on a journey

             called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.

      To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one —

             to each according to his ability.

      Then he went away.

 

      Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,

             and made another five.

      Likewise, the one who received two made another two.

      But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground

             and buried his master’s money.

 

      After a long time

             the master of those servants came back

             and settled accounts with them.

      The one who had received five talents came forward

             bringing the additional five.

      He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents.

             See, I have made five more.’

      His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.

             Since you were faithful in small matters,

             I will give you great responsibilities.

             Come, share your master’s joy.’

 

      Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said,

             ‘Master, you gave me two talents.

             See, I have made two more.’

      His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.

             Since you were faithful in small matters,

             I will give you great responsibilities.

             Come, share your master’s joy.’

 

      Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said,

             ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person,

             harvesting where you did not plant

             and gathering where you did not scatter;

             so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground.

             Here it is back.’

 

      His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!

             So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant

             and gather where I did not scatter?

      Should you not then have put my money in the bank

             so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?

      Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten.

             For to everyone who has,

             more will be given and he will grow rich;

             but from the one who has not,

             even what he has will be taken away.

      And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside,

             where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’”

 

      The Gospel of the Lord.                                                                   R/.  Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

 

      These last few Sundays we have been moving toward the close of the Church’s Liturgical Year, so the Scriptures have been focused on the “End Time,” that is, the return of Jesus, and on the “Final Judgment,” when each of us will be rewarded, or punished, according to our relationship to God.  “Be prepared,” “Stay awake,” “Do good,” are phrases we hear all year long, but they are concentrated at this time.  Next weekend is the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year, the Feast of Christ the King, so this is our final warning, so to speak.

      The Gospel parable is about three servants whom a master entrusts with talents, (a “talent” is a monetary measurement, about 80 pounds of silver).  We get the idea from the first two servants and from the master’s reaction to the third servant that he expected them to use this money while he was away to earn him more money.

      So, we can gather that Jesus is teach his followers – teaching us – that God has entrusted to us different resources, not limited to money, with an expectation that we do something with our God-given resources to earn more for God.  Basically:  receive good, do good, build up more good, present good to God, be rewarded!  The fundamental question for each of us: what am I doing with the resources God has given me?

      If I have not been using my resources to do more good, then I will have little or no “earnings” to show God, and I can expect no more than the third servant of the parable.  Not a position in which any of us truly want to find ourselves, right?  Yet, let’s be honest:  the year 2020 had been tougher than most and it is hard to focus on much beyond just surviving.  How can God expect us to do so much that we are doubling His gifts to us?  Is that fair or reasonable?

      Again, honestly, every day and every year have their difficulties and drawbacks.  While this year might seem more concentrated and extraordinarily difficult, as long as I have been a priest, I have heard people say God expects too much from us!  “I can’t pray every day.”  “Things come up and I can’t get to Mass every weekend.”  “I need to save my money for the future, so I can’t give that much to the Church.”  Etc., etc., etc!  It seems to be human nature, fallen human nature, to put self-preservation ahead of serving God.  If we allow ourselves to focus on taking care of myself, then doing good for God will slowly but surely disappear from my life.

      If you plan to get to Heaven one day, then you plan to become a saint; it’s as simple as that.  But we don’t become saints “sometime” in the future.  We become saints by what we do today!  An old title given to saints is “Servant of God,” sort of like the first two servants in today’s parable.  Saints do not ask, “what do I need to do today?”  Rather they ask, “what does God need me to do today?”  True enough, covid and everything else can steal our attention away from God, but each saint faced some similar distraction.  We cannot use present difficulties as an excuse not to serve God.  In fact, because of so much need around us, this year has been better than most in showing opportunities to serve God by serving our neighbor.  This could be the very year you achieve your sainthood(!), if you believe it is possible.

      Remember the words of our opening prayer: “it is full and lasting happiness to serve with constancy the author of all that is good.”

God bless!

 

Final Blessing:

             The Lord be with you.                                                              R/.  And with your spirit.

             And may the blessing of almighty God,

             the Father, and the Son, ✠ and the Holy Spirit,

             come down on you and remain with you for ever.                 R/.  Amen.