Homily for the thirty-third Sunday of the year - Year A - Mt. 25:14-30


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"Jesus spoke of his second coming: «For it will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them; and he made five talents more. So also, he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money.


" «Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.' His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.'


" «And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.' His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.'


" «He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.' But his master answered him, 'You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed, and gather where I have not winnowed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.» "





Homily:


"Jesus spoke of his second coming."


As I had said last Sunday, towards the end of the liturgical year, the Church proposes to us passages from Scripture that speak of the return of the Lord at the end of time. Thus, in today's gospel, Jesus tells us of his second coming. Is this not a mark of great kindness? Is this not a proof of his mercy? For Jesus could very well have left us in ignorance of all that concerns his return to the earth and the judgement that will follow. So, far from being terrifying, these announcements of the return of the Lord should help us to love, to an even greater extent, God, who loves us with a Love that surpasses anything that we could ever imagine!


" «For it will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them; and he made five talents more. So also, he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money.» "


God loves us, and the proof is that he has given talents to each one of us: five talents to one person, two talents to another, one talent to a third, etc... Of course, in Jesus' parable, these talents are coins from that period, coins of Greek origin. But these talents, in the form of coins, can help us to understand how God loves men in giving them certain gifts, or talents in the figurative sense of the word, which is the sense most often used today: "aptitude in doing something".


As Jesus says, each person receives talents according to his ability: "to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability." For example, God gives a few people talents for governing a country well, but, on the other hand, he gives many people talents for raising their children well. Similarly, in the spiritual domain, God gives certain people talents for participating in the government of the Church, but to a greater number he gives talents for leading a community prayer group.


What is important is not to have received many talents, or to have received great and wondrous talents, but rather to correctly use the talents we have received. Talents are not made to remain buried and hidden in a person's anonymity. On the contrary, as Jesus said: "You are the light of the world." (Mt. 5:14) The talents received, whether they be natural or supernatural, must be developed and used for the good of all.


" «Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.' His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.'» "


God loves us! What could be better than for us to render to God love for love? This is what we do when we recognize in ourselves God's gifts. I was about to add: "however little they may be". I wanted to say the following sentence: "This is what we do when we recognize in ourselves God's gifts, however little they may be." But I cannot say this. For is any of God's gift little? No. There is no little gift of God. Every gift of God is great, immense, infinite! For his Love is infinite! It is only to our eyes, our poor eyes that have been blinded by the spirit of the world, that a gift of God could be little...


To recognize the gifts of God within us: this is what we must do. The rest will follow. This is the answer to the question: "What must we do to use these gifts?" Let us recall what Mary said to the Angel Gabriel: "How shall this be, since I have no husband?" (Lk. 1:34) This is the sort of question that everyone asks themselves when they are faced with a gift of God... And yet, there is only one answer to this question. One must say, as Mary did: "Let it be to me according to your word." (Lk. 1:38) Let us trust God: let us recognize the gifts of God in us and allow God to do the rest!


" «He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.' But his master answered him, 'You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed, and gather where I have not winnowed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.» "


Jesus gives us this last example in order that we might know what to expect if we do not trust him. It is the example of a person who is afraid of God: "I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground." We should not be afraid of God. Let us be afraid of offending him, let us be afraid of hell, let us be afraid of what Jesus might say to us: "And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth." But let us not be afraid of God!


We must trust God! However, this does not mean that ours should be a passive trust, a trust that leaves us inactive. No. We must work with God, in trust. This man in the parable said: "Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow." And he is right: God required of his Son the greatest work there is, the most painful work of all time, that of dying on the Cross of Calvary for the salvation of the men and women of every age...


When the Angel Gabriel greeted her, Mary immediately saw in her mind all that she would have to suffer with her Son, for she knew the prophecies announcing the suffering Servant... And yet, Mary said "yes" to the envoy of God; Mary did not hesitate to recognize the gift of God in her, that gift that made her the Mother of God, but also the Queen of Martyrs!


May the Holy Spirit fortify the heart of all those he has marked with the seal of God! May He who is the Gift of God come to our aid, through Mary, all the days of our life!




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