Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

Every few years someone makes a dire prediction the world is coming to an end on a specific date.  Each prediction is vehement, expressed with certainty, and wrong. Jesus makes it quite clear that No one knows the day or the hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the son, but only the father[1]. The Father, the Creator, is the only one who knows when his creation will come to a conclusion. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be prepared for the end.  In today’s second reading, St. Paul tells the people of Thessalonica that the day of the Lord, the end of time, will come like a thief in the night when people least expect.  Some of these people took Paul too literally and quit working and caring for their families, just bracing themselves for the end.  He had to write them again and tell them that those who refused to work should not eat[2].

Perhaps time will not end before we die, but when we die; our own personal time comes to an end.  We spend the month of November praying for our loved ones and all the souls of the faithful departed who have died.  Death is a reality everyone has to face. How then, should we prepare for the Lord to come whether it is at the end of all time or the end of our own personal time? Instructions are available throughout the Bible, but particularly in today’s Gospel, which, by the way, comes in the section of the Gospel of Matthew where Jesus is speaking about the end of time. Today’s Gospel is the Parable of the Talents. The master entrusts his possessions to three of his servants, and then goes on a journey.

To the ancients, a talent was a unit of weight[3], but I think we can use our definition of talent to best explain how we need to prepare for the Lord to come into our lives. Our definition of talent is the natural aptitude or skill someone has. Some have musical talent. Some are talented technicians. Some are talented athletes, and so forth.  We all have natural gifts.  We were given these talents by God.  We are expected to develop them to serve God and his people.

Quite often an athlete will begin an interview after a sporting event in which he or she excelled with, “First of all, I give all glory to God.” The athlete is right.  God is the source of all our talent. The athlete sees his or her developing this talent as returning the gift to God. To the athlete the focus should be on God, not him or her. We all need to do this regarding the many talents the Lord has entrusted to each of us. Perhaps someone has said to you, “You are such a good mother, such a good father.”  Or perhaps someone has said to us, “I’m nowhere near as good at this as you are.”  Our response, at least to ourselves should be, “Whatever I do well, I credit God as the source of the talent. All Glory belongs to Him.” 

The Lord tells us in the parable that the Master will come for an accounting of how we used the particular talents He has given each of us.  The first two servants in the parable returned more than they received, allowing the Master’s possessions to grow. God is calling us to develop what we are given to allow His Kingdom to grow!

So, will the world end soon?  Maybe yes, maybe no. We can’t be concerned with worrying about the exact day or hour.  That is none of our business.  But what we have to be concerned with is doing our part to prepare for the Lord’s coming, either at the end of all time or the end of our time.  If we develop the talents he has entrusted to us, the day will come when He will say to us, well done, good and faithful servants

[1] Matthew 24:36
[2] 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time A, November 16, 2014. Readings: Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31; Responsorial Psalm 128:1-2, 3, 4-5; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6; Matthew 25:14-30.
[3] The weight was determined by the amount of water needed to fill a vessel called an amphora. Since the various ancient people had different sizes of amphoras, a talent for the ancient Greeks was 57 pounds, for the Romans 71 pounds, and for the Egyptians 60 pounds.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris