Holy Cross Catholic Church

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33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time - November 16, 2023

Dear friends,

These three last consecutive weekends of the Ordinary Time have showered us with the teachings about the return or the coming of the Son of God. Last weekend we reflected on the story of the ten virgins, five of which were wise and five others foolish. The outcome was that if we think about the “we never know,” we will make sure we respond to the Lord’s invitation to long for everlasting life with him and work towards it.

Today, Matthew comes again with the story of the talents. That falls even more appropriately as we lean towards the end of the year and investigate our financial situation. When we look back and try to count our blessings throughout this year, we will undoubtedly be in awe to see how much God has blessed us. The talents he has given us to make them fruitful are countless. The context of today’s gospel highlights the return of the Lord which represents the last judgment when the Lord will ask each of us the following question: “what did you do with the gifts I have given you?”

The curious thing in today’s gospel is that the master does not tell his servants what to do with the money. Obviously, he expects them to follow the example he has always shown them, namely, to use the time they had as they waited for his return, to increase what they have been given. So, today, with regards to material and monetary gifts, we are invited to go back to our financial book to investigate and respond to the same question put otherwise: “as disciple and steward, what did I do with the gifts God has given me throughout this year? How generous was I with God’s blessing upon me to support the mission of the Church and participate in the building up of the kingdom of God?”

What then about spiritual gifts?  Like for the material and monetary gifts, they also are to be made fruitful. Repeatedly, we have been told that using the gifts we have been given will help us to be successful in this life. Like for other gifts, Jesus wants us to be successful spiritually by using the spiritual gifts he gave us as disciples. These can be the Scriptures, the Sacraments, the time we can use for prayer, being good to others, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as we lead others to God…, to name but a few. If we do nothing with the graces and opportunities He gives us, there will be no good we can get out of it.

The most amazing and surprising thing here is that God does not want back the gifts he gives us; he wants us to use them to help others and to increase them in ourselves. He does not want us to bury them in the ground until we see our end is near and then we can dig them up to return them to the Lord. So, let us go back to our inner world and reflect on our responses to God’s gifts to us and to the ways we have made them fruitful. Before he takes them from us to give them to others, because He does not take them back to himself for his own sake, we need to put them to work for the building up of his Church as disciples called to be witnesses to the glorious victory of the cross.

Let us continue to pray for one another and for our parish family.

Fr. Emery 


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