Sunday, November 15, 2020

Ways to make great results of modest things (Sunday homily)

 In the first reading, you have a wife and mother 

who is attentive and faithful in small things. 

The result is a powerful impact on her family and beyond. 

In the gospel, we have two servants 

who are attentive and faithful in small things. 

But let me highlight something else – did you notice? 

Between the first two servants, there was a possibility of envy, 

because one is more celebrated and more successful 

than the other. 

Even so, there is no resentment, and the runner-up is not dispirited.

Then there is the final servant, who rejects the Lord’s gift. 

He is fearful and perhaps proud. 

There is a kind of false humility that is really pride: 

that says, I am not good enough, I don’t dare, 

I should hold back, and is consumed by timidity and fretfulness. 

As I said, this masquerades as humility – “oh, poor me, nothing me!” 

But it really is pride, because it’s me looking at, focusing on, ME, 

rather than focusing on God.

This mindset, by the way, is related to scrupulosity, 

which some people wrestle with. 

Here is the connection: with scrupulosity, 

one problem with scrupulosity is too much self-focus: 

in this case, focusing on our sinfulness -- excessively. 

God never calls us to look at self, self, self, self, 

either in pride of our own accomplishments – 

or in precisely and repeatedly detailing our failings. 

Remember what we talked about with the saints in heaven: 

our focus, our gaze, must always shift back to the Lord, 

not on ourselves!

Oh, and while I’m on that idea, a reminder: 

this is what our annual Forty Hours Devotion does for us: 

a chance to re-train our gaze 

on Jesus in a particular way, 

so it radiates that much more through everything else in our lives.

So please don’t miss the opportunity to turn your gaze to our Eucharistic Lord, 

on the altar, today and tomorrow. 

And don’t forget our Solemn Closing at 4 PM Sunday, 

and you will have a chance to hear our seminarian, Isaiah Callan, 

share a reflection on the Lord. 

It’s going to be great, and I know we all want to support him.

The word “talent” in the Gospel can be misleading, 

because we use that word to mean ability; 

but at the time the Gospel was written, 

the word simply referred to a certain amount of silver – 

in other words, money. 

So really, the parable is about having readiness 

to use whatever resources we have, 

whether time, money or personal gifts; 

but not on how much or how little.

This business of faithfulness in small things, to bring great results – 

isn’t this what you and I are doing with our parish? 

This is the point of our religious education, 

our youth activities, our kids clubs – 

we are trying take the resources of greatest value to us – 

our children and our Faith and our future – and bring about increase.

Some can feel as though they have very little to offer. 

Many times I have talked to people in their later years, 

who aren’t mobile and active as they once were,

and they will say, “I don’t know why I’m still here.” 

All I can say is that, however limited you may feel you are,

you still do have something to offer the Lord, even in a small way. 

Remember that Jesus makes great things of meager offerings. 

Beware the temptation to say, like the third servant, 

“I don’t have enough to work with, so I won’t do anything.”

Another way you and I live this parable is in sharing our faith.

It is in small things, small details, 

that we will bring people back to the Faith, 

or bring people for the first time. 

The way to share the Faith, and bring increase, is by our friendship, 

our openness, our welcome, and by giving simple but sincere answers 

to the questions: why are you a Catholic? 

What does your Faith do in your life? 

How we answer that is how we give an invitation for others.  

And then you and I will be able to say, on Judgment Day,

“Lord, you gave me five, and here I brought you five more!”

1 comment:

rcg said...

Excellent explanation of the third servant. There is a significant temptation to false humility as an excuse to give up or accept sin.