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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Good stewards

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In today’s readings, we are presented with the hard work of a good wife and of two “good and faithful” servants who made productive use of their time and talents for those they loved.  Their rewards are abundantly clear in both passages.  Equally apparent for us is the punishment of the servant whom the master calls “wicked”: he has failed to deal properly with the huge sum of money given to him (equivalent to perhaps 15-20 years wages).  He was afraid, and didn’t want to fall short, but apparently the master is not compassionate at all in this circumstance.

How will it be for us when our Master, the Lord Jesus, returns to demand an account of what He has blessed us with?  We have been given much more than money, but do we not recognize the urgency of what we do with our own “talents”: whether finances, skills, opportunities, wisdom, or God’s divine Grace placed in our hearts.  None of these things are given for us to keep for ourselves.  All of it - money, time, opportunities, wisdom, gifts, skills, Grace, love, forgiveness - everything we are given is really for giving away.

Look at Jesus’ own life.  It tells us plain and simple, that love isn’t love until you give it away.  God is love, and he gave Himself away, He laid down His life, for you and me.

If you want to discover who God is - you have to give yourself away.  Now this doesn’t mean you need to empty your houses and your bank accounts.  If it did, then 99% of Christians over the last 2,00 years have done a terrible job.  No we don’t need to abandon all our stuff to the Lord.  But we do need to constantly place it in His hands in prayer, and be ready to do with it as He wills.  That is true discipleship.  That is a true response to the demands of Divine Love showed to us in the Cross and in the Eucharist.  Whenever we don’t give away our “talents” (in every sense of the word) for the good of others, then we are burying them for ourselves, trying to protect ourselves, and in fact actually condemning ourselves because we are refusing to be like God, eternal self-giving Love.

Sometimes we may be tempted to think that being a Christian is simply a one-time conversion or act of faith, and then we get to live some sort of spiritual retirement in our hot-tub of Grace just relishing the easy life.  To be a christian and follow Jesus is not something simple or easy, nor is it brief.  Last week’s parable of the wise and foolish virgins reminds us that we must always be alert and ready, constantly of service to our Lord.  We can’t simply make a decision to follow Jesus and then be done with it.  No, that decision ends up leading to new decisions every day that change how we view the world and how we live.The Christian life is not some short sprint, but a marathon race that lasts our entire life.  Do we have what it takes to finish the race?  For the truth is that Christianity is not a soft bed, but rather a Cross that brings us challenges and consolations every step of the way.  Let us thank God for the daily opportunities we are given to discover the beauty of the Cross, which is love in its true form.

And let us pray for the grace to risk ourselves - to lose ourselves - by giving away ourselves to God and to each other.  This is the true act of faith we make in the Lord’s Paschal Mystery, and it is here in the Eucharist where we are promised to truly find ourselves in Christ Jesus once again.

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