Each Sunday, one member of our community preaches during our evening prayer together. By the grace of the Holy Spirit, this is what I preached about for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary time, Cycle A. The readings at Mass were:
Psalm: Ps 128:1-2, 3, 4-5
2nd Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6
Gospel: Matthew 25:14-30
In today’s first reading, we heard: “Her husband, entrusting his heart to her, has an unfailing prize (Prov. 31:11).” In today’s Gospel, we heard, “‘A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them (Matt. 25:14).”
When you think about it, trust really is a strange thing. People say it needs to be earned, yet we often trust people we have never met, based on a piece of paper, to cut our hair; fix our house; and take care of our physical, mental, and spiritual needs. With trust, there is always some type of unknown. You wouldn’t need to trust the person cutting your hair if you knew what the final product was going to be before it was done, and you wouldn’t need to trust someone to keep their word if you could look to the future to see if they actually did. When you think about it, the same is true with God. If God showed us all of the ways He was going to take care of us and lead us to Heaven, we wouldn’t need to place our trust in Him. The funny thing about God is He does see the whole picture, including every mistake we’re going to make, yet God trusts us with the unique tasks He has created each of us to carry out.
A Sunday readings podcast called The Lanky Guys, run by a theology professor and priest in Denver, CO, dives deeper into the ways today’s Gospel teaches us about the radical trust we are called to have in God. In their discussion, they point out how the two servants who were rewarded were not praised for how much they produced, but for their faithfulness to the task entrusted to them. On the flip side, they talk about how fear is what motivates the servant who is rebuked for burying the talent given to him. One of my favorite parts of their discussion is when they talked about how a life lived in unhealthy fear is a life half lived, but a life lived in trust of God is a life full of reverence of God and striving to make God proud out of the healthy fear of not wanting to let God down. People often experience this type of healthy fear if they don’t want to let down a parent, friend, teacher, or mentor. The two men go on to talk about how, when we live out of the healthy fear of God, everything just falls into place.
Now, as we all know from discernment, trying to figure out what God is inviting us to trust Him with often involves patiently waiting and letting God come to us. This can feel like a serious dying to self in our modern world full of Google, microwaves, and two-day shipping; we, or at least I, want everything to fall into place NOW! As we near the end of the liturgical year and approach Advent, what talents, what pieces of your heart, is God inviting you to give to Him? Or, just as the master entrusted his talents to his servants, what is God asking you to receive so He can entrust it to you? The answer to both of these questions may be hard to hear, but each answer can also be an important step in growing in our understanding of who God is and who He created us to be. And, as the Gospel today shows us, if we receive what the Lord is inviting us to, we will get to share in our Master’s joy!