From the Pastor’s Desk
33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time
Nov 19, 2023
“Come, share your master’s joy.”
Brothers and Sisters,
The “Parable of the Talents” in Matthew 25:14–30 tells of a master embarking on travel, which, before leaving, authorized his servants to take care of his property. The parable stresses the importance of working for the Lord and fulfilling the petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “thy will be done.” Yet, many of us can most likely relate to the third servant, who accomplishes nothing when gripped by fear and anxiety. Reflecting on the Gospel passage, I wonder why Jesus included the two servants’ success in multiplying the wealth entrusted to them and what Jesus’ response would have been to a servant who made an effort but failed to increase the wealth. As Christ’s servants here on earth, we are promised what those faithful and prudent servants are in today’s Gospel —a share in the Lord’s joy. Still, let’s not confuse joy with happiness. Yes, happiness is a fantastic emotion, but it is often influenced by circumstances outside our control, making it fleeting. Happiness is temporary. Joy is a gift of the Holy Spirit, and as Pope Francis puts it, “Receiving the joy of the Spirit is a grace.”
To that end, The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength will be this year’s theme to help guide the tone for youth faith formation at our school and parish. Based on Nehemiah 8:10, the passage reminds us of the importance of building God’s kingdom as Nehemiah, the Governor of Judah, did when he rallied his people to rebuild Jerluseam’s fortifications. Nehemiah accomplished far more than expected in a short time, and the outcome of his efforts renewed his people’s faith. While Nehemiah was successful, many of the prophets were not. Jeremiah’s words infamously went unheeded, and his people treated him brutally. Jesus’ words are in alignment with this challenging reality. Contemporary minds hear “talents” and think the phrase refers to personal positive attributes or tasks that we are proficient in, though technically, the term refers to an actual weight of monetary value. Remember, an important lesson to remind ourselves is that Jesus does not tie his reward to personal success but to the commitment and diligence we demonstrate to growing in faith. Our sincere effort matters more than whether or not the value of our work increases.
Thanksgiving reminds us that giving thanks is an excellent opportunity to cultivate joy. As we celebrate Thanksgiving, let’s wholeheartedly thank the Lord for his love and goodness. And at each Mass, let us truly celebrate the Eucharist, reminding ourselves of the reasons for our gratitude. Among my list is my appreciation for all the good our parishioners are accomplishing as you engage in the work of the Lord! Thank you.