This penultimate Sunday of the liturgical year reminds us not only of the end of the liturgical year, but also of the end of all things, and of the preparations we need to make to reach Heaven. The theme of the readings this week is sharing, the best way to use our God-given talents, so that at the sunset of our lives the Lord will say: “Well done, my good and faithful servant! Come and share the joy of your master.”
The first reading is taken from the Book of Proverbs. This reading describes a good and faithful woman who performs all of her household duties faithfully and efficiently and yet, finds time to reach out a helping hand to the poor and the needy. Because this woman practiced love for both God and neighbor, it pleased God to say: “Her value is far beyond a pearl.”
In the second reading, Paul advises us to stay awake and be sober, encouraging and building each other up as we wait for the “Day of the Lord.” He challenged the Thessalonians to turn their fear of the Lord into positive, constructive, and life-affirming action. Paul reminds the people that instead of worrying about the imminent coming of the Lord, one should always stay “alert and sober,” carrying out our duties faithfully, because we don’t know the exact hour of the Lord’s return.
In the Gospel reading, Jesus tells the story of a rich man, about to set off on a journey. Before he left he entrusted very large sums of money to three of his servants, each according to his personal ability: five talents, two talents, and one talent. This parable reminds us that we are likewise given talents, and the question is: Are we grateful to God for the many blessings He has given us and how do we use them? Are we using our talents and gifts primarily to serve God? Are we doing everything we can to carry out God’s will? The parable of the talents challenges us to do something positive, constructive and life-affirming.
We are all blessed, some more and some less. The question we should ask is, how we are using our blessings in the service of our Christian community and wider society? One precious gift we all have received is the gift of Faith. Our responsibility as men and women of Faith is not just to keep the Faith but continue to nurture and share it with others. Unless we do this, we stand in danger of losing the Faith just as the third servant lost his talent. The way to preserve our Faith is to put it to work and make it bear fruit.
Next Thursday is Thanksgiving, and I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. We have a special Mass on Thanksgiving at 9:00 am. I invite you to join me in thanking the Lord for the many blessings that the Lord has showered upon us. On this wonderful day, I hope you will all spend some quality time with your family and friends. I love Thanksgiving, not only because there is a lot of good food, but also because it is a great opportunity to connect with family and friends. On this day, we come together at the Eucharistic table to express our gratitude to Almighty God for His many blessings upon us, our families, and our country.
Thanksgiving is a good opportunity to take a moment to consider all the blessings we have received from God, to be thankful for those blessings, and to consider how we might share those blessings with others. As some of you might know, the parish is focusing on an important project in the coming year: The reroofing of the church. It is an expensive project, and I hope you saw some of the details that were mentioned in our last week’s bulletin. It is expensive, but something that is necessary and can be accomplished if we all contribute what we can to the project.
People sometimes give larger, one-time gifts because they have a special project in mind, or they give for sentimental reasons because they love this parish community and God has been so gracious to them. Other times, people give because they are seeking a significant tax deduction, and they want to see their hard-earned money used locally, in a positive and concrete way. In all cases, people should give because they know that everything we have is not ours, but is a gift from God. God gives to us because He loves us and trusts that we will share our blessings with others. Let me close with a quote from St. Theresa of Calcutta: “We can show our gratitude to God by sharing our blessings with others, by investing in worthy causes.” Let us together reroof the church and protect it for our children and grandchildren. Happy Thanksgiving!