"Our Eternal Destiny"

Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Year A 15 November 2020

“For yourselves know perfectly, that the day of the Lord shall so come, as a thief in the night.” I Thess. 5:2

Today, as we are coming to the end of the liturgical year as the season of autumn reminds us: life is declining, the trees are bare and all nature is dying. We are reminded by these natural events that the scriptures tell us of Christ’s Second Coming, the Parousia, when Jesus Christ comes on the clouds of heaven and the myriad of angels to judge all mankind. St. Paul alludes to this in today’s Second Reading (I Thess. 5:1-6) “For yourselves know perfectly, that the day of the Lord shall so come, as a thief in the night.” I Thess. 5:2 Of equal, if not more important to all of us, for it is so near, is our own death when we will judged by God on how we have lived our lives with the many talents and graces which God has given to us in our lives. Thus all of today’s readings make us aware that we will have to render an account of our lives sometime in the future when we least expect it if we are not watching and waiting for the Lord. However, there is also another theme running through the scriptures: For all you are the children of light, and children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Thess. 5:5 As children of the light, we are watching and waiting and preparing for “The Day of the Lord” in our lives when the Lord will come and call us for what we have done (or not done) with the talents that He has given us in our life. His lord said to him: Well done, good and faithful servant, because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Mt. 25: 21

The Faithful Wife

Today’s First Reading (Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31) which is usually used at the Nuptial Mass, is in praise of the wife who fears the Lord: Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: the woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.” Prov. 31: 31 Because she fears the Lord, she is a cherished wife who renders her husband only benefits. She not only does good things with her household chores by weaving cloth, but she “She hath opened her hand to the needy, and stretched out her hands to the poor.” Prov. 31:20 For all her works, she will also be praised at the city gates for her husband will be dressed in fine clothing which she has made and the works of her hands will be praised for their quality. As a contrast to the dutiful wife is the woman who is only interested in appearances: Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain:” Prov. 31:31A This is a warning to all to be careful in judging by the world’s standards.

“Be children of the Light”

St. Paul also reminds us to live as children of the light who are awaiting the day of the Lord. He says that there will be those who will only be concerned with their own peace and security and will not be attentive to when the Lord will come: “For when they shall say, peace and security; then shall sudden destruction come upon them, as the pains upon her that is with child, and they shall not escape.” I Thess. 5:3 As children of the light, St. Paul wants us to be awake for the day of the Lord: “Therefore, let us not sleep, as others do; but let us watch, and be sober.” I Thess. 5:6

Render an account of our talents

In today’s Gospel, (Mt. 25:14-30), Jesus tells us of “The Parable of the Talents,” which is about a master giving his servants talents for which they will have to render an account of what they have done with them. To one he gives five talents, to another two talents and to a third, one talent. The first two double their talents, but the third buried his talent in the ground and did not gain anything for the master. For those who doubled their talents master said: Well done, good and faithful servant: because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Mt. 25: 19 & 23 Only the servant who had not worked with his one talent was condemned by the master: Take ye away therefore the talent from him and give it to him that hath ten talents. For to everyone that hath shall be given, and he shall abound but from him that hath not, that also which he seemeth to have shall be taken away. Mt.25:28-29 At first, this might seem cruel on the part of the master, but we must remember Jesus Christ consistently taught that we must bear fruit in our lives for eternity. The wicked servant who did not use his talent was condemned. Jesus condemned him to hell for his worthlessness: And the unprofitable servant cast ye out into the exterior darkness. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Mt. 25:30

Eternal Destiny

So, too, will be the fate of all those who have not used the talents which God has given them. This is especially true of every husband and wife who have the talent to procreate children, but they do not want the children that God wants to give them. St. John Vianney, the Cure of Ars, in the nineteenth century said: “There are many women (men too) in hell today because they did not want the children that God wanted to give them.” Inter-related to with bringing children into this world is the obligation of parents to teach them unto justice. If they fulfill this obligation, the prophet Daniel tells us that they will be forever blessed in heaven: “Those that instruct others unto justice shall shine like stars for all eternity.” Dan. 12:3 This eternal glory is only one of the many blessings of “the children of light” (I Thess. 5:5) in the Catholic faith. For their faithfulness they will have great peace at death. Often, they will suffer a terminal illness as a final purification for their happy death. For them, death will not come as a thief in the night, but He (Christ) will come as a gentle lover for his spouse as we see in preceding parable of “The Ten Virgins”: Now whilst they went to buy, the bridegroom came: and they that were ready, went in with him to the marriage,....” Mt. 25:10 The great American poetess, Emily Dickinson, captures the beauty of death and the union of soul who will soon become the spouse of the bridegroom for all eternity:

“Because I could not stop for Death –

He kindly stopped for me –

The Carriage held but just Ourselves

And Immortality.

“We slowly drove – He knew no haste

And I had put away

My labour and my leisure too,

For His Civility – ....”

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