Homily for the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Tiempo de lectura aprox: 2 minutos, 38 segundos
Biblical scholars are divided as to what Matthew intended to say in Matthew 25:14-30. But somehow, they all seem to agree that Matthew is describing what is expected of us as we live in the in-between times (the present age) and what will happen in the second coming of Christ. Matthew uses the metaphor of the talent, 16 years’ worth of wealth to describe the extravagant gift God has given us. From the passage, it is obvious that God’s gift is tailored to meet our ability, circumstances, and particular needs. God has given us a mission. He has also given us tool kits.
To grasp the message of the passage, it is important that we apply the wise counsel of Pope Benedict XVI – to read the text with the view of the whole scripture in mind. That means we have to turn to Genesis, walk our way through Exodus, the Old Testament, then the New Testament and the Undivided Tradition of the Church. One thing that can come out of such reading is the fact that God created us for Himself. And we are fully alive when we are in communion with Him. Our communion with God will bear fruit that will stand the test of time.
In John 15:7-8 Jesus said, ‘If you abide in me (Jesus), and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples’ (NRSV). This text sheds light on today’s Gospel reading. It helps us to appreciate Jesus joy in the servants who made five, and two more talents. They bore fruit. It also tells us something about the servant who took his one talent and buried it in the ground. Matthew weaved into his didactic story the power of thanksgiving, the Eucharist.
When we place John 15:7-8 side by side with Matthew 25:16-18, we will realise that the two servants who made profit on what was given them, abided in their master. In other words, they were in communion with him. They knew what he wanted, and they immediately set out to do his wish. From the text, Matthew portrayed their master as the Christ figure. And Matthew is not only saying what we are expected to do in the in-between times, he is also saying what we have to do in order to know what Christ wants. We have to worship, participate in the Eucharist.
Obviously, the third servant was not in communion. He had broken away from his master. He went rogue. He set out to do what he himself wanted. It was all about him. Why? According to the text, he had heard so much about his master that he did not bother to know who his master really was. What he had heard about his master, he presumed to be true of him and he related with his master based on that. This sound pretty much like contemporary atheists. Why are they atheists? Perhaps they have known so much about God that they end up not knowing Him personally.
‘The problem of disbelieving in God’, G. K. Chesterton said, ‘is not that a man ends up believing nothing. Alas, it is much worse. He ends up believing anything.’ No doubt this was the problem of the third servant. He believed anything people said about his master. There is no gainsaying there are many of us who are like this third servant. We believe anything others say about God, the Church, the world, and other people, as a result we distance ourselves from God. Or we become so proud that we expect Christ to follow us instead of us following Him.
The Eucharist, the source and summit of the whole of our Christian life, is what makes us humble. In the Eucharist, God the Father gathers us. God gathers us in His name, and by so doing, He deflates our ego. He avails us the opportunity to acknowledge our sins, ask for forgiveness and thank Him for what He has done. He then addresses us and feeds us. Thus, in the Eucharist, God delivers us from our self-preoccupation. He helps us to understand in the words of Richard Rohr that our life is not about us. Yes, it is our life, but our life is about God.
The first and second servants grasped this message. They lived by it, and they lived a fruitful life as they awaited their master’s return. Matthew wants us to get the message. Matthew wants to live fruitfully as we await the second coming of Christ. He wants to be a Eucharistic people. A people summoned by God to live according His will. And Matthew is calling us to keep the Lord’s day. He is asking us to worship the Lord, to be thankful for what God has given us. So that our participation in the Eucharist will bear fruit as we await the Lord’s second coming.
Fr Francis Afu