33rd Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Rev 4:1-11
I, John, had a vision of an open door to heaven, and I heard the trumpet like voice that had spoken to me before, saying, “Come up here and I will show you what must happen afterwards.” At once I was caught up in spirit. A throne was there in heaven, and on the throne sat one whose appearance sparkled like jasper and carnelian. Around the throne was a halo as brilliant as an emerald. Surrounding the throne I saw twenty-four other thrones on which twenty-four elders sat, dressed in white garments and with gold crowns on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder. Seven flaming torches burned in front of the throne, which are the seven spirits of God. In front of the throne was something that resembled a sea of glass like crystal. In the center and around the throne, there were four living creatures covered with eyes in front and in back. The first creature resembled a lion, the second was like a calf, the third had a face like that of a man, and the fourth looked like an eagle in flight. The four living creatures, each of them with six wings, were covered with eyes inside and out. Day and night they do not stop exclaiming: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come.” Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to the one who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before the one who sits on the throne and worship him, who lives forever and ever. They throw down their crowns before the throne, exclaiming: “Worthy are you, Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things; because of your will they came to be and were created.”
Gospel: Lk 19:11-28
While people were listening to Jesus speak, he proceeded to tell a parable because he was near Jerusalem and they thought that the Kingdom of God would appear there immediately. So he said, “A nobleman went off to a distant country to obtain the kingship for himself and then to return. He called ten of his servants and gave them ten gold coins and told them, ‘Engage in trade with these until I return.’ His fellow citizens, however, despised him and sent a delegation after him to announce, ‘We do not want this man to be our king.’ But when he returned after obtaining the kingship, he had the servants called, to whom he had given the money, to learn what they had gained by trading. The first came forward and said, ‘Sir, your gold coin has earned ten additional ones.’ He replied, ‘Well done, good servant! You have been faithful in this very small matter; take charge of ten cities.’ Then the second came and reported, ‘Your gold coin, sir, has earned five more.’ And to this servant too he said, ‘You, take charge of five cities.’ Then the other servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your gold coin; I kept it stored away in a handkerchief, for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding man; you take up what you did not lay down and you harvest what you did not plant.’ He said to him, ‘With your own words I shall condemn you, you wicked servant. You knew I was a demanding man, taking up what I did not lay down and harvesting what I did not plant; why did you not put my money in a bank? Then on my return I would have collected it with interest.’ And to those standing by he said, ‘Take the gold coin from him and give it to the servant who has ten.’ But they said to him, ‘Sir, he has ten gold coins.’ He replied, ‘I tell you, to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king, bring them here and slay them before me.’” After he had said this, he proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.
WORKING FOR GOD’S KINGDOM: In today’s reading, Jesus teaches about the kingdom of God using a parable. Jesus says that the seeds of the kingdom of God and the skills needed for nurturing them, are given to the apostles (missionaries). The apostles/missionaries might be from the families of fishermen, tax collectors or zealots. Hence, they also have the task to reach the kingdom to the ends of the world. Those who do not make use of them due to fear, will not be excused. We learn that we are given the talents as well as the tasks to work for the flowering of God’s kingdom. The kingdom will not appear magically, but through the fruits of our labour. There will be opposition to the kingdom but at the end kingdom will triumph. In addition, those who are at the service of the kingdom will not be subdued by the enemies.
Prayer: Lord, empower us to work for the coming of your kingdom.
KEEP YOUR IDENTITY: One of the most important and hard things in our life is to keep our identity. Our identity as Christians is to follow Christ even if it costs us our earthly life. Many saints kept their faith by words and deeds and we remember them for that. Some were martyred because they refused to follow unchristian commands from unethical leaders. We should follow the example of this mother and her children who refuse to partake on what is against their faith. The Gospel calls us to be trustworthy in whatever tasks we are given, and use our talents fully for the benefit of God and for others; avoid selfish acts. This is also a call to trust and obey the orders from our Christ by calling others to His Kingdom.
PRAYER: Help me Lord to remain strong now and forever.
BACK YOUR DREAM WITH ACTION: The third slave in the Gospel had the nerve to say what he thought of the master, a kind of misplaced courage. But his very words did him in: ‘I was afraid of you’. When fear rules you, you are not at your best. His problem was not that he lacked courage, but he failed to perform. He became a loser when it was hard work and perseverance that was required. Perform or perish seems to be the command. Fruitlessness is a sin reprimanded several places in the scriptures. Great souls have wills, feeble ones only have wishes. We need to back up our wishes with will to act. Let us be always on the move, trying to contribute in the building up of a new world.
BRING YOUR ENERGY TO THE KINGDOM: There is beautiful French word, élan, which means energy, enthusiasm and vitality. The difference between the servant who made 10 pounds out of one and the servant who just returned what had been given to him was, élan. In today’s context, 10 people apply for the same job. All of them have the same qualifications. Only one gets the job, how? The answer is élan! The word might sound secular and fashion-oriented, but Christian spiritual writers of old in their list of cardinal sins included, what they called, acedia or sloth. It is laziness, lethargy, life-lessness, energy-lessness, idleness; the opposite of élan. Lethargy is the playground of the devil. As Christians we need to exercise élan. We get the élan from our motivation for God and for his Kingdom. That is the message of the parable today.