33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

PRV 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31 / PS 128:1-2, 3, 4-5 / 1 Thes 5:1-6 /  MT 25:15-30

     One day Satan summoned three demons before him for a challenge. He asked each of them how they would tempt men to hell. The first said, “I will tell them that there I no heaven.” The devil shook his head, “No that won’t work because everyone thinks they are going to heaven.” The next demon said, “I’ll tell them there’s no hell!” Again the devil shook his head and said, “No that won’t work either because everyone believes their enemy is going to hell.” The last demon went up and whispered something in the devil’s ear. The devil smiled and said, “Ok, I’ll send you,” and he sent the demon off to earth to lead as many people as he could to the underworld. The other two, confused as what he may have said asked, “what did he say?” The devil answered, “he said, ‘I’ll tell them that there’s no hurry, that there’s always time to change.”

     In some ways doesn’t this story play our in our lives? How often do we think we can bury our faith in the ground and dig it back up later towards the end of our life? With the coming of Advent in just two weeks the Church will celebrate her new year, and as we close out this month of November, the month of the dead and journey through the first two weeks of Advent, the Church invites us to consider the truth that our time on earth is short and we must be prepared to meet God face to face for our death will come like a thief in the night.

     Our Lord’s parable in today’s gospel is very clear, we are the servants and God is the master who has entrusted us with certain gifts and talents. Sure some of us have been given more talents than others but all of us have the greatest talent, the gift of our faith, the supernatural ability to know, love and serve God in this world so that we may be happy with Him in the next forever. All of us from the moment of our baptism have been given the gift of faith. Sure some of us have a deeper faith than others, but even those of us who only have one talent of faith have been entrusted with allot. A talent was a unit of measurement that amounted to about 16 ½ years worth of income, so even the servant who received only one talent received allot of money. At our baptism God made a huge principle investment in our lives and He asks us to invest in our faith and to allow that investment to grow. Sadly as Catholics, our faith is often one of the most buried and underdeveloped talents we have. The question Jesus asks us today is what are we doing with the gift of faith. Do we bury our faith in the ground on Sunday so that we can dig it up next week or do we invest our faith through the week allowing it to grow. We must invest our faith, for a dormant faith is no faith at all.

     We invest our faith in two primary ways, firstly by coming to know our faith and then by sharing it with others. Sadly many Catholics stop practicing their faith soon after confirmation; it is almost as though we think we have graduated from the school of faith. Will an athlete who has a gift for a particular sport but never practices ever become a professional? Of course not; so why should the Christian who never develops his faith through practice and prayer ever become holy or go to heaven? The key to living a faith filled life is love. Most people become successful at what they do because they love it. The former superior of the Jesuits Fr. Pedro Arrupe famously said “nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in love, in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”[1] Through practicing our faith we fall more and more in love with our Lord and it becomes easier to practice our faith because it’s easy to practice and sacrifice for something when we love it. This love of our faith should compel us to share it with others and in so doing receive more than we can give. As we share our faith with others, our own faith grows. Today, I invite you to find for yourself one concrete way to share you faith during the week, and one way to nurture your faith either through prayer or study.

     The Gospel reminds us that our God is truly a demanding God. He is a demanding God because He is a lover and love is demanding. God loves us too much to leave us where we are and so He challenges us to make a greater return on His principle investment. I don’t know about you, but the sweetest words I can ever hope to hear in my life are the words of Jesus saying to me, “well done my good and faithful servant, come share your master’s joy,” but to hear these words at the end of our lives we must work now to invest the faith God has given us in our baptism and nourished through His sacraments by further developing it and sharing it with others. Like any investment we can’t just save our faith we must invest it, use it and share it. As we prepare for the new Church year let’s make a resolution to find one concrete way to grow in our faith and find one concrete way to share it with others this coming year.

[1] Finding God in All Things (Milwaukee: Marquette University Press) 2009. pg 100. accessible at http://www.marquette.edu/mission/documents/FindingGodtextforwebsite.pdf

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