Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 15, 2020 Cycle A
by Rev. Jose Maria de Sousa Alvin Calado Cortes, F.S.C.B.
Chaplain Saint John Paul II National Shrine
 Washington, D.C.

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Sunday Reading Meditations

“Come, share your master’s joy!” (Mt 25:21). Today’s liturgy tells us that God is our happiness. He fulfills our desire to be happy. Today’s entrance antiphon says: “You will call upon me, and I will answer you.”

We cannot separate God from happiness. Without him, happiness is impossible. Psalm 73 says: “To be near God is my happiness, to place my hope in God the Lord” (Ps 73:28). The modern world has separated God from happiness and for this reason it is unhappy

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the Parable of the Talents. In this parable, Our Lord tells us that we receive everything from the Father, and we are called to return all things multiplied to him.

Today’s Collect prayer says that to be devoted to God brings us gladness and to serve the Lord makes us happy. The prayer say: “Grant us, we pray, O Lord our God, the constant gladness of being devoted to you, for it is full and lasting happiness”.

Faithfulness to God gives us deep joy. “Come, share your master’s joy!” We want to be faithful to the Lord because we want to be happy. In him, we find the fulfillment of our lives.

The servants who received five and two talents gave back  another five and two talents to the master. They multiplied what they had received.

They entered into the master’s joy as they returned the talents multiplied to him. We experience great joy when we return to God what we have received from him. Thus, we should give everything back to God. We give back to him when we recognize that people and things do not belong to us but to him. To give back means to give thanks to the Lord for all he has given us.

It is curious that at the end of the Gospel, the master tells a third servant, who had been given only one talent, which he buried in the ground instead of multiplying it, to give his talent to the servant who had ten. However, that servant had given his ten back to the master. This means that whatever we give to the Lord, he gives it back to us and more. We don’t lose it. This is a very interesting parable.  At the end, the good and faithful servant has eleven.

The fear of the Lord is not being afraid of the Lord. The fear of the Lord fills our hearts with joy.  Today’s first reading says: “The woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Prov 31:30). In addition, today’s psalm declares: “Blessed are you who fear the Lord” (Ps 128:1).

Fear paralyzes us. The third servant attempted to justify himself to the master and said: “[…] so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground.” Instead, the fear of the Lord inspires courageous and fruitful decisions: “Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five” (Mt 25:16). The fear of the Lord is to remain with Christ: “Whoever remains in me bears much fruit” (Jn 5:5).

In today’s second reading, Saint Paul says: “Let us not sleep as the rest do, but let us stay alert and sober” (1 Thes 5:6 ). To stay alert and sober means to pray. Prayer is essential for the fulfillment of our lives. As we pray, Our Lord fills our empty hearts with his grace. The greatest happiness and joy that a human being can experience is to receive God’s grace and peace. The greatest joy in life is encounter with Christ.

“Come, share your master’s joy!” God is our happiness and joy! Let us open our hearts in order to receive God’s grace. May we experience God’s joy through our fruitful response!  Amen.