Sunday, November 16, 2014

God's Investment - 33th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Today's readings tell us about the importance of the wife who is a symbol of the Church as well as the putting our faith to work.

In the first reading from the Book of Proverbs, we read about what an ideal wife should be.  Her value is greater than that of pearls. She is the prize of her husband and brings him good, not evil.  This wife is a hard worker and is also concerned for others.  She is righteous.  Most importantly, she "fears" the Lord or has great respect for God. Because she is a hard worker, she deserves a reward for her work which will praise her.  Here we see how the Book of Proverbs tells us what the "perfect" wife should be. She is not the property of man, nor his slave. This woman is the treasure of her husband; meaning, that she should be all that matters to him.  As his wife, she not only takes care of the household, but also works. Some people use the Bible to put down women.  They claim that the woman should be "submissive" to the man (1 Peter 3:1). However, these words are often misinterpreted to have a misogynistic meaning. Men and women are equal. Woman is described as coming from the side of man showing that both stand side by side (Genesis 2:21-24). Men should never be seen or treated as better or superior to women. Both should be treated equally even in regards to pay or salary as the first reading states in regards to giving her a reward for her work. This reading is connected to the Gospel.

In the responsorial psalm, we read how those who "fear" the Lord or have great reverence for Him will prosper. They will have food, work, a home, strong children etc. This Psalm responds to the first reading in regards to the "woman who fears the Lord."  The woman is the Church (Revelation 19:7-10). We are this woman who must be faithful to the man (Christ). If we are faithful, loving and hard working then we shall prosper in the Lord.

The second reading from Thessalonians reminds us that God can come at any moment.  He will surprise us just like a thief who comes out of nowhere when we think all is calm. We might think things are "peaceful" and "secure," and live off-guard.  However, then out of nowhere the end comes; God returns to judge us all.  St. Paul reminds us that we should know this if we are in God. We should know that our time is short and that we must live in God like children in light.  Those of us who are baptized, in grace and in full union with the Church are in Christ's light.  In today's world we see many Catholics only come to Mass twice a year.  They are usually called the "A&P" Catholics, or "Ash Wednesday" & "Palm Sunday" Catholics.  Instead of coming every Sunday and Holy Days of obligation, they show up on these days. Churches are packed from pew to pew.  St. Paul advises us against this.  "Let us not sleep as the rest do, but let us stay alert and sober" is what he tells each one of us.

Finally in the Gospel we read of Jesus telling another one of His attention grabbing parables. In this story, a man or owner of land is about to go on a journey and calls his servants.  He entrusts them with his valuables according to what they are capable of. To each he gives a different amount of talents.  However, as he leaves on his journey, one of the servants traded with another and made more talents.  Similarly, the second man did the same and made two more. But, the last one went away and dug a hole burying this talent or money. When the master of those servants returned he inquired about the talents.  The first two shared what they had made and he was joyous of the interest that came in from their investment.  The master congratulated them calling them good and faithful servants.  However, the last man told the master that he saved the talents claiming that the master harvested in areas he did not plant and gathered where there was nothing. In other words, he was insulting the master as being wasteful or incompetent of running his own land.  Because of this, the servant felt it was wise to save the money.  The master obviously did not take lightly to his words and banished him.

This Gospel tells us how God entrusts us with certain gifts. We are to make use of these gifts to bring more gifts in, so to speak. Each one of us is called to spread the Gospel around and must use the "talents" or gifts God has given us (1 Peter 4:10). Like the wife in the first reading, we must work and show the husband we are competent (1 Corinthians 3:9).  We will receive our reward for being faithful and putting our gifts into action in the world.  The last servant was distrusting of the master. We must not be like that. We must not be like Moses in the desert who felt God delayed in bringing water from the rock and tapped it again as if God does not know what He was doing (Numbers 20:9-12). Instead, we must trust God and go to work using the gifts He has given us.  Each one of us will have different gifts, so we must know when and how to use them.  Some of us are called to be priests and have certain gifts to use as a priest.  Others are called to be religious sisters or brothers and each one of them has different gifts to use. Many more are called to be priests by baptism or laity and each have their own gifts which they must.  All of us must use our gifts in God's investment and bring in the interest to Him. Let's not be like that last servant who felt the master did not know how to run Hus own business and hid the money.  If so. God will tell us like Donald Trump said in his reality show, "YOU'RE FIRED!"  We all know what this "fire" is.  We do not want to be there gnashing our teeth as Jesus described.  


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