17 November 2023

'What I love most about my parents is that they are always together.' Sunday Reflections, 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A


Married Couple in a Garden
Frans Hals [Web Gallery of Art]

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life (Proverbs 31:10-12; First Reading).

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland)

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Gospel Matthew 25:14-30 (English Standard Version Anglicised, India) [For the shorter form (25:14-15, 19-21), omit the text in brackets.]

Jesus told this parable to his disciples:

“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.

[He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money.] 

Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

[And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’]

Léachtaí i nGaeilge


Syro-Malabar Catholic Wedding, India

I have been involved with Worldwide Marriage Encounter (CanadaIreland, Philippines, USA) most of the time since 1981 when I was on a study year in Toronto, Canada. About 17 years ago I was at a family day organised by the movement in Bacolod City, Philippines, where I was based at the time. One of the last activities was for the pre-teens who were asked what they loved most about their parents. One boy of about 11 shared that what he loved most about them was that they were always together.

That boy saw clearly what marriage is about: a man and a woman called by God to be one, to commit themselves to one another For better, for worse . . . till death do us part, a commitment based on God's commitment to them. In most cases of those of child-bearing age when they marry, a consequence of this is that husband and wife become father and mother, the children being the fruit of their love for one another. Their primary call from God is still to be husband and wife. That's what the young boy in Bacolod City saw so clearly. He didn't feel left out by the spousal love of his parents for one another; rather he saw himself being drawn into that love.

The First Reading, from the Book of Proverbs, opens with these words about marriage: An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.

The Responsorial Psalm, which is meant to be a response to the First Reading, picks up on this: Your wife like a fruitful vine in the heart of your house; your children like shoots of the olive, around your table.

One way we can interpret the parable of the talents in the Gospel in the context of today's readings is in the light of marriage. The gift of talents - a talent being a valuable coin - can be seen as the gift from God of the sacrament of matrimony. The one given five talents and the one given two used them fruitfully, earning five and two more respectively. The one given just one talent buried it, unwilling to take any risks.

The fruit of the responsible use by the first two of the talents they were given can be seen in a married couple who welcome children into the world and raise them to be followers of Jesus and, to echo the psalm, in the fear of the Lord, not like the fear of an abusive parent or authority figure. It is a fear that is a profound respect for God who loves us and who in the Person of Jesus Christ, True God and True Man, has died for us and has risen from the dead, offering us eternal life.

One of the blessings in my life has been the many married couples I have known or have known about who have longed to have children but have been unable to conceive. So many of these have been fruitful to an extraordinary degree, some by adopting children, some by getting deeply involved in the wider community. Part of their reward in heaven - Enter into the joy of your master - will be to meet those to whose lives they have given meaning by sharing with them the love of Jesus himself, often without being aware of it.

What I love most about my parents is that they are always together.

Miracle at Cana 
From Mary of NazarethIgnatius Press

 Traditional Latin Mass

Fifth Sunday remaining After Epiphany

The Complete Mass in Latin and English is here. (Adjust the date at the top of that page to 11-19-2023 if necessary).

Epistle: 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10Gospel: Matthew 13:31-35.

The Infant Jesus Distributing Bread to Pilgrims

The kingdom of heaven is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till it was all leavened (Matthew 13:33; Gospel).

1 comment:

Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder said...

Dearest Father Seán,
As often I have trouble sleeping—so I read your post.
One of the most beautiful stories is the MIRACLE AT CANA!
Tomorrow I will be once again the lay reader...