Homily for the thirty-third Sunday in the year

Year A  -  Mt. 25:14-30


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"Jesus said: «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 said: «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.»"

Each year, when the liturgical cycle approaches its end, the Church proposes to us texts from the Scriptures which touch rather directly on the return of Christ to earth at the end of time.  The epistle of Saint Paul to the Thessalonians clearly alludes to it.  Today's gospel also speaks of it:  the master of the house who goes on a journey is the symbol of Jesus who went away and who will soon return!

Soon Jesus will return!  For, our personal encounter with the Lord must take place soon! What happy news and what joy it is for our soul to know that the Lord is near!  Whoever we are, we know very well that our life here does not last very long.  Time passes by...  It passes so quickly that we are already approaching the end of our journey, the race's finish line!

Soon the time will come when we will have to render an account of what we have done.  Happy are we if we have been good throughout our life!  We have received so much from the Lord!  We are members of his Body, we belong to his Church, we are now in his home, and when he will return, he will judge us on our deeds, rewarding us if we have done good, and punishing us if we have done evil...

"«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.'»"

When, a long time later, the master of the house returned home, he promptly praised the faithfulness of one of his servants, who had made the talents entrusted to him bear fruit.  This servant had not done anything spectacular or superhuman; on the contrary, he did small things, simple and ordinary acts, acts which were seen by God and for which he was rewarded.  "Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much."  Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, who is a Doctor of the Church, said (as an example) that to pick up a pin out of love for God could save a soul for all eternity!

Sometimes we need courage to be faithful to God, notably when we must affirm one of the truths of our faith.  The world today is so secularized, religion is so strongly attacked from all sides, that our faithfulness is sometimes put to a severe test.  However, the profession of our faith, the affirmation of the truth, is very beneficial, both for he who proclaims his faith and, to a lesser extent, for he or she who hears it being proclaimed.  Dom Prosper Guéranger, a reformer of the Benedictines in France in the nineteenth century, said that the truth sometimes obtains the salvation of he who hears it, but it always saves he who speaks it.

"«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.'»"

This is what the unfaithful servant does: he hides his talent, he buries it in the ground!  What a disgrace and what dishonor to his master!  This servant possesses a treasure, and instead of using it for the glory of his master and for his own happiness, he hides it in the ground!  How many times in our life have we been like this servant?  For the time will come sooner than we think... Happily, we still have time to take hold of ourselves!  It is not too late: we can still change our life and follow, not the cowardice of the wicked servant, but rather the boldness and courage of the good and faithful servant.

"«`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.'»"

The talent that the master had given to the wicked servant had not become the property of the unfaithful servant.  This is why the master took it away from him, as if he in fact possessed nothing: "From him who has not, even what he has will be taken away."  Indeed, when God gives his grace to man, the latter must respond to it with faith; he must correspond to it, striving with his entire being to do so.  The grace of God calls for the free consent of the human person, and it is only with this consent that the grace of God becomes God's gift to the whole of the person who receives it in faith.  Without this correspondence on the part of the human person, the grace of God remains a good that belongs to God, and he who believes he possesses it is, in reality, the poorest of men.

"«`And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.'»"

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, elsewhere in her writings, said that souls fall into hell like snowflakes in winter.  She meant to express how much she believed, with the entire Church, that the number of the damned is immense, very great, compared to the number of men and women saved through the mercy of God.  Little Therese, as she is called, was not weak and timid!  She was a strong woman, a missionary spirit ready to make any sacrifice for the salvation of souls!  She is, moreover, the patron of missions, along with Saint Francis Xavier.  However, she herself had never left her Carmel.  And now her rain of roses continues to fall upon the entire world!

Let us pray to all the saints in Heaven, in order for them to guide us toward our Home!  Let us pray above all to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, in order that she, along with all the saints, accompany the Savior, Jesus of Nazareth, when the time comes for us to receive the reward promised to the good and faithful servant: "Enter into the joy of your master!"