Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

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As another liturgical season rapidly nears completion, the readings seem to naturally focus on end things. Last Sunday we were encouraged to “stay awake” because we do not know the day or the hour when our earthly pilgrimage will end. The Gospel for the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time reminds us that at the moment of death we will have to give an account.

In the Gospel parable, Jesus tells us that a man, prior to going on a journey, entrusts his property to his slaves. One received five talents, another two, and the last received one talent. When the master returned he settled his accounts and discovered that two slaves had doubled the amount given to them. The third, out of fear, was only able to return the one talent that he had received. Jesus calls this slave wicked, and banishes him to the outer darkness. Jesus states, “For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.” This seems like a rather harsh response from Jesus; however, it is justified. The slave did nothing with the one talent and he believed that this would please his master. We can have this same expectation with regard to the end of our lives. If we adopt the thinking of the third slave, then we believe that even though we have “buried” our faith, we will automatically be welcomed into heaven.

The truth is that those who have been open to God’s grace throughout their lives, will receive something more – eternal life. Those who did nothing will lose the pledge of eternal life that they received at baptism. It is important to remember that we do not merit or earn our salvation; however, good works are needed. “For all those who have, more will be given…but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.”