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As we approach the conclusion of another liturgical year, this Sunday we celebrate the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time.
The Gospel speaks about the end of times in strange apocalyptic terms. Our world will surely end when we are called to meet God who created us and called us to himself. November is the time when we remember those who have completed their pilgrimage before us, sure in hope that we too will one day encounter God face to face.
In the Magazine Rack you will find reflections from the life and writings of Servant of God Joseph De Piro which will assist us in continuing our journey in our discipleship of Jesus. We invite you to take a copy home with you this week.
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As we approach the end of the Church’s liturgical year, the focus remains upon the second coming of the Lord. Once again, the Gospel provides a parable (the Talents) instructing how to live appropriately in view of that expectation.
The master in the parable is pleased with the enterprising first two servants. Having realised substantial gains on the amounts entrusted to them, they are welcomed “into the joy of their master”—that is, into the banquet of the Kingdom.
But the third servant, who simply hid his single talent in the ground, displeased his master because he didn’t do what was expected, namely, trade with the money so that it would increase. He didn’t even put the sum in the bank, where it would have at least accrued some interest. Paralysed by a fearful image that he has of his master (an image of God that the parable does not endorse but actually refutes), he sought security in giving back, in strict justice, the exact sum entrusted to him. This, however, was not what the master wanted. Hence the severe penalty.
The parable challenges believers not to rest content simply with not doing anything wrong so that God will not be able to find anything to punish. Such an attitude mistakes the nature of God and neglects what God really wants, which is an enterprising, even risk-taking, practice of the “weightier matters of the law”: “justice, mercy and faith” (23:23). The gifts God has entrusted to us, like our minds and limbs, need active exercise if they are not to atrophy and wither.
Fr Brendan Byrne SJ
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Reflections on the Mission 17 experience, its meaning, impact and the many stories of the journey can be found here: