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View the Webcast to listen to the most recent homily.
 
November 19, 2017 

Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

This week, our readings deal with endings; with accounts; with judgments; with last things. In the Gospel today, we are told that in the moment of our death, we will have to give an account of our lives and our talents, and what we have done with them - to the Lord – it’s called judgement.

 

In today’s parable, the wealthy man, who went on a journey, is Jesus who ascended to His Father after His Resurrection, but Who will return in judgement at the end of the world. The workers stand for you and me. In His absence, Jesus has given us the task of living and proclaiming His Kingdom, and He has given us the talent and ability to fulfill the task. God demands the proper use of those talents and gifts because He has given them to us not only for our use, but also for the proclamation of His Kingdom. Our judgement will depend on how we have used those talents.

 

We came into this world with nothing - alone and dependent, but full of potential. Today the Church asks us: “What are we doing with our God – given gift s and talent?” Are we using our talents for ourselves, or are we using them in the service of others for the sake of the Kingdom of God? Are we hiding our talents and abilities? Is our attitude: "I owe nothing to anyone one – I worked for everything I have." Are we pretending that “God has given us nothing; therefore we have nothing to contribute to the benefit of others in our life or in the life of this Basilica."

 

It’s interesting to note that in Jesus’ parable today the man with the least ability was the one who made no effort to do anything with the money and gifts he had been given. He ended up inventing an excuse for his laziness and fear.

 

Jesus wants us to know that life is not a game: it is a very serious matter. As God created us and keeps us in existence every moment of every day, we are called upon to make use of the talents He has given us for the sake of His Kingdom.

 

The Gospel directs us to live and celebrate life – not to curl up in some corner and hide. The Gospel directs us to live our lives to the fullest and use our God – given talents boldly. The Gospel directs us to proclaim the saving message of Jesus’ Passion, Death and Resurrection to a cold and indifferent world that is not interested in what He has to say.

 

The man in the Gospel who buried his talents was afraid of his Master and afraid of failure; so he did nothing with his talents – in fact he pretended that he didn’t have any. Today, Jesus’ parable demands that we risk the consequences of living the Gospel.

 

A long time ago, I visited the leper colony on the island of Molokai. A leper greet us and spoke to us about the wonderful work accomplished by Saint Damien whose statue will soon grace our baptismal font. The lepers were considered to be cursed. They were outcasts and were never to have contact with healthy people.

 

Fr. Damian went to Molokai, offered Mass for the lepers, heard their confessions and comforted them: that is what he was supposed to do as a priest. But he went beyond his priestly duties. He discovered a mountain stream and piped fresh water into the Village for drinking and sanitation. He taught people how to farm for their food and build homes to replace the shacks they were living in. He built a small clinic where he dispensed medical help and personally dressed their sores. He built coffins and buried their dead.

 

Finally, Fr. Damian contracted the dreaded disease and died. He was not afraid preach the Gospel; nor was he afraid to live and die for it. Because of Damian, lepers began to experience the joy of living again.

 

Jesus reminds us today: “Don’t be afraid! Use your God – given talents to the best of your ability: do not bury them”; because one day each of us will have to give an account of our lives. St. Paul warns "As sure as the dawn is His coming!"

 

Jesus was not indifferent about our future: He suffered and died to make that future possible. He doesn’t want us to be indifferent about our future either! He reminds His disciples in every age that He is with us in our trials and disasters, in our suffering and death; but we must seek Him. He cannot and will not force Himself, His mercy, His forgiveness, or His eternal life on us.

 

As we come to the conclusion of another Church year - may we realize that we are one year closer to our personal meeting with the Risen Lord. What are we doing with the talents and gifts God has given to us? Have we used our talents and even improved upon them, or have we buried them in the sand? When we give our account to the Lord, will we hear those words of welcome: “Come and enter your Master’s joy.” Or will we hear something else?

 
St. Mary of the Assumption Basilica
Basilica of Saint Mary of the Assumption
A Parish Family for the Mid-Ohio Valley since 1838.
506 Fourth Street, Marietta, Ohio 45750-1901
(740) 373-3643    Email: info@stmarysmarietta.org