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Nov 18, 2017 Written by  Rev. Fr. Paulino Twesigye Mondo

33rd Sunday in ordinary time Year A Be the first to comment!

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Theme: Expectation

Another liturgical year is fading away, leaving behind the ever-shifting sands of our daily lives thoughts about the end. The Word of God today reminds us that worry and anxiety are exercises in futility since no one knows the specific time or moment when this world will be utterly transformed by Jesus’ second coming. As believers we are of course, aware that the end time will indeed come, but the fact that the eschatological climax has been so long delayed may cause an attitude of passivity. Aware of these pitfalls which plague the human psyche; the Church invites us to reflect on the last things when we are still alive.

First reading: Proverbs 31:10-13, 14-20, 30-31

The book of Proverbs is a collection of sayings and poems, some of which date from the period of the monarchy around the tenth B.C. Although Solomon is credited with the authorship of Proverbs, the book represents the thoughts of a variety of Israel’s sages and teachers. This treasury of wit and wisdom was gathered together in a loosely constructed guide intended to teach its audience, particularly the young, how to live rightly and wisely. Proverbs begins with a combination of promises and warnings wherein personified Wisdom promises wealth, happiness, honor and posterity to those who follow her teachings cf. Proverbs 1:1-14 and issues warnings to those foolish enough to ignore her perceptive leadership cf. Proverbs 1:15-33.

At the conclusion of the book, this portrait of the woman represents a person who has heeded Wisdom’s warnings and as a result has reaped the abundance of her promises. This text written in acrostic style, each line begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet, making it more artistic than logical in its structure. Truly this portrait completes the feminine imagery ever thought and as an excellent model of Wisdom settled in a home. Wisdom personified welcomes and attends graciously and generously to those who have accepted her invitation.

Significantly, the tasks performed by the woman of worth are not extraordinary ones but ones that she performs extraordinarily well. She is industrious, and skillful; she is strong, persevering and generous. As she goes about the everyday duties of her household, she brings to her husband and children a treasure far beyond pearls cf. Proverbs 1:10. Today we are being taught that what matters is what the world of daily life offers because it provides a basis for valuing knowledge.

Second reading: 1Thessalonians 5:1-6

Paul’s references to Jesus’ second coming as the ‘day of the Lord’ are best understood against the backdrop of the Old Testament. Initially, the Day of the Lord was regarded as a time when God would champion the cause of Israel over and above its enemies cf. Amos 1:3-2:3. But when Israel’s covenant fidelity deteriorated into idol worship and social injustice; some prophets demythologized the once paradisiacal concept of the Day of the Lord cf. Amos 5:18-20. Rather than being an era of light, reward and victory; the Day of the Lord was thereafter featured as a time of darkness, retribution and defeat cf. Joel 2:31.

The First Christians instead identified the Day of the Lord with the second advent of Jesus which would come suddenly and inescapably; bringing with it unrelenting judgment for those whom it would find unprepared. St. Paul in his continuing attempt to allay the end of time fears and anxieties of the Thessalonians encourages his audience that even if they do not know specific times and moments regarding the day of the Lord, they should not live like a people without hope. The day of the Lord is a present and evolving experience. Salvation is a process already begun through the saving words and works of Jesus. Since humanity is not in the dark, thus non should be mollified by false promises of peace and security. True peace and security come from living each day, faithfully to the commitment made to Christ at baptism. Having been led out of the darkness of sin, we who believe must bring light and be light for others.

Gospel: Matthew 25:14-30

Today’s gospel hinges upon an indeterminate period of waiting. Matthew narrates that ‘after a long absence’, the master eventually returned to settle accounts with his servants. In this parable the behavior of the three servants teaches us how to live worthily so as to be ready to encounter Jesus when the end comes. Just as Jesus entrusted the ministry of the Gospel to his followers in the interim between his two appearances, so the wealthy businessman featured in this parable expected that his servants would administer his affairs while he was away. Notice that the servants were given shares of their master’s capital appropriate to their abilities.

Originally, the talent was not a coin but a certain weight of precious metal, usually gold or silver. Each of the servants utilized the talents allotted him; the first doubled the five talents given him by the master. The second, likewise, used his skills at investing and commerce to double the two talents which had been disbursed to him. No doubt, each of these two servants was required to exercise considerable shrewdness and expose their capital to a certain degree of risk in order to reap such a profit. The third servant, showing no imagination or industry, took the path of least resistance, avoided the investment market altogether, and buried the money. This practice was common in the ancient world particularly in countries like Palestine whose banks and businesses were prey to an often greedy and unprincipled occupying force by invading forces. However, inactivity and cowardice were not what the master expected of his servants.

When the master returned and asked for an accounting from his servants, the first two were praised and rewarded with even greater responsibilities and a share of their master’s joy. This sharing of joy implies that the servants would be welcomed to the intimacy of table-fellowship with their employer. Certainly this idea is in accord with the eschatological overtones of the parable; the kingdom’s reward was often likened to a great banquet. Some of us may be surprised that both servants received the same reward. Given the fierce competitiveness of contemporary society it may seem that the servant who generated the larger profit should be compensated for it. The fact that both servants receive the same reward shows that what is valued is not one’s accomplishments in a quantitative sense but the fidelity of one’s commitment as mirrored in one’s whole-hearted activity. The third servant’s lack of initiative resulted in the loss of his master’s respect as well as his job. He had done nothing to enhance or to increase what had been entrusted to him.

At its basic level of development which was witnessed during Jesus’ ministry, this parable’s worthless servant may have represented the unyielding resistance to change of those Sadducees who prided themselves in keeping the law verbatim, adding nothing, altering nothing and adapting nothing. In their own words they were proud to build a fence around the law. This parable appeals to us not to waste or to bury our gifts and talents but to remember at the sometimes harsh demands of discipleship “I knew you were a hard man” Matthew 25:24 and to risk whatever is necessary in order to meet them. The servant who buried the money in the ground had in effect “hidden his light under the bushel” Matthew 5:15. As a result, neither he nor anyone else reaped any benefit from his talents. Since Jesus has already taken the risks upon himself by accepting to become one among us, then we need to fear nothing and go ahead to accomplish God’s assignments with courage.

Application

By way of advice in this regard, the Church puts before us today, four models, that is; the woman in Proverbs, and the three servants in the Gospel. Today, these four models remind us, in both a positive and negative sense, of the importance of living each day to the fullest, developing and using our abilities in complete correspondence with the daily gift of grace, so as to be prepared for the inevitable. The unpredictable day of the Lord clarified by St Paul is meant to keep us alart. For all present here today this parable serves as a reminder that each of us has been entrusted with a share in the ministry of Jesus, with natural talents and grace. As we await his return, it is ours to risk what is necessary and to expend every effort in order to develop our gifts. If we squander our talents or allow fear and anxiety to squelch them, there will be no joyful banqueting, only weeping and grinding of teeth. Imagine!

 

146 Last modified on Saturday, 18 November 2017 10:18

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Luganda: 7:30 am.  English: 9:00 am, 11:00 am and 5;00 pm.

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About Our Church

Welcome to Our Lady of Africa Parish Mbuya. We are located near Bugolobi Township in Nakawa Division. It is about 5 kms from the City Centre of Kampala. Mbuya Catholic Parish is a vibrant and diverse community made up of people from different parts of Uganda. We welcome you warmly and joyfully.

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