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Chris Mazon

Gospel Reflection Nov 19 – Deacon Chris

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Sunday, November 19

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 25: 14-30

Gospel:
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.'”

Reflection:

If it we look at this parable in the larger context, we see the themes of good and bad servants, final division, reward and punishment, and the return of the master after delay. This parable focuses on the time we have here on earth. We do not know when the Lord will return. Our lives could end at any time or Christ could return for the final judgment at any moment. Matthew explains in this gospel what he means by being watchful or ready during this “in between time”.

We hope and desire that heaven will be our final resting place with the Lord. Consequently, our actions must be faithful to God’s instructions. This means we are to use all the abilities that God has entrusted to us in order to fill our time here on earth with deeds of love. Additionally, this parable specifically highlights the qualities of courage and fidelity. Being industrious and courageous with the gifts God has given us, allows us to give back to Him. Fidelity in small things leads to a much greater reward and intimate friendship with the Lord. Our faithful and whole-hearted commitment to the Lord through our actions will not go unseen.

Conversely, inactivity is condemned in this parable. It is clear that the demanding nature of the master and a fear of failure are unacceptable reasons for refusing to make an effort. Each of us can fail to meet Christ’s moral demands when we sin or through a lack of insight. Or, as in the case here, sheer inactivity and laziness are unfaithfulness to the Master. This parable emphasizes the essential aspect of the interaction between God’s free gift and our response. The disciple who “gives himself” fully to the gift God has given him will receive even a great reward. We are called to action within our spiritual lives or else we risk losing what we have. Let us ask God for the grace and strength to be courageous with the gifts he has given us, so that we may be good and faithful servants and enter into the joy of His kingdom when He comes to meet us again.

Deacon Chris Tuttle

Gospel Reflection Nov 12 – Father Morris

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Sunday, November 12

Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 25: 1 – 13

Gospel:
Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins
who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish and five were wise.
The foolish ones, when taking their lamps,
brought no oil with them,
but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.
Since the bridegroom was long delayed,
they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight, there was a cry,
‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.
The foolish ones said to the wise,
‘Give us some of your oil,
for our lamps are going out.’
But the wise ones replied,
‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you.
Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’
While they went off to buy it,
the bridegroom came
and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him.
Then the door was locked.
Afterwards the other virgins came and said,
‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’
But he said in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’
Therefore, stay awake,
for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

Reflection:
The founder of Scouting, retired British Army officer Robert Baden-Powell, was once asked to elaborate on the famous Scout motto: “Be Prepared.” His questioner asked, “Prepared for what, exactly?” According to Scouting legend, the old campaigner quipped, “Why, for any old thing!”

We all know people like the foolish virgins in the parable (perhaps some of us are even married to them!) They aren’t prepared for anything, it seems. They have no extra jacket, their cell phone battery hasn’t been charged, and the gas tank routinely hovers below E. They are always ready to roll their eyes at “the prepared” for their precautions and safety margins. Strangely enough, they are also the ones who are more than ready to ask “the prepared” for help when they encounter troubles! It is only the most saintly of Christians who doesn’t luxuriate in schadenfreude and self-satisfaction in such moments. It feels so good to gloat when our foresight is proven correct!

It would have been “very Christian of them” if the wise virgins had given the foolish virgins some of their oil. But if the “wise virgins” were truly wise, earlier in the day they should have been able to recognize the “foolish virgins” for what they were: fools! So why did such “wise” people allow such “fools” to start out unprepared, and suffer an easily preventable catastrophe?

When we rejoice over the ill-fortune of others, especially as a result of their sins, we should stop a moment. Before we are tempted to pat ourselves on the back for our holiness, for our avoidance of temptation and our lack of vices, perhaps we should ask ourselves an uncomfortable question: If I see a fool in his folly and leave him in it; if I then rejoice over his misfortune from that uncorrected folly… how “wise” am I? How “holy” am I?

Father Morris