Theme: PREPARE FOR THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST: DO GOOD WORKS
- Proverbs 31:10-13. 19-20. 30-31
- Psalm 127:1-5. R. v. 1
- Thessalonians 5:1-6
- Matthew 25:14-30
Today is the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, or the 33rd Sunday of the Liturgical Year A. As we come to the end of the Liturgical Year, the readings today tell us about the end times, the end of the world, that is, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! The readings today tell us to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ by doing good works!
The gospel parable tells us of a man who went abroad. Before he went abroad he gave his servants talents to trade with. To one he gave 5 talents, to another 2 talents, and to a third 1 talent. The first servant made 5 more talents, the second servant made 2 more talents, but the third servant buried his 1 talent in the ground. When the master returned after a long while, he said the servant who made 5 more talents, ‘Well done good and faithful servant, you have been faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater, come and join in your master’s happiness’! He said the same to the second servant who made 2 more talents, but to the third servant who buried his 1 talent, the master said, ‘You wicked and lazy servant’! And the master continued, ‘As for this good-for-nothing servant, throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth’!
The Church has chosen the gospel reading of today to tell us to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ by doing good works!
It is important to note that the sin of the third servant who buried his talent is not the sin of commission, but the sin of omission! The third servant was sent to hell, not because he stole, killed, or committed adultery, but because he did nothing! He did not love, serve, and do good works! To go to heaven, it is not enough not to commit sin; we have also to love, serve, and do good works!
The first reading from the book of Proverbs is about the perfect wife! The first reading tells us that the perfect wife is an asset to her husband. Besides other housework, she also makes wool, linen cloth, spins her own thread, and makes cloth (GNB). Besides her housework, she also helps the poor and the needy! But most importantly, she is a wise woman, that is, a woman who ‘fears the Lord’! (NJB/NAB) In fact, ‘the fear of the Lord’ is the theme of the book of Proverbs, which begins with ‘the fear of the Lord’ (1:7) and ends with ‘the fear of the Lord’ (31:30)! The perfect wife is wisdom personified, the fear of the Lord personified!
The fear of the Lord is not a slavish fear, but a reverential fear, a religious fear, a devotional fear, a respectful fear, and a loving fear of loving children for their loving parents!
Again, we have to see this second reading in the context of today’s liturgical theme, that is, we have to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ by ‘fearing the Lord’ and doing good deeds! In fact, we cannot do good deeds, without first fearing the Lord!
The responsorial psalm takes up the theme of the first reading, that is, ‘fear the Lord and walk in his ways’; fear the Lord and obey his will; fear the Lord and keep his commandments; fear the Lord and do not sin; fear the Lord and do good deeds! (127:1)
Again, we have to see the responsorial psalm in the context of today’s liturgical theme, that is, prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ by fearing the Lord and doing good deeds!
Finally, St. Paul tells us in the second reading in his first letter to the Thessalonians that we do not know when is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. We do not know the time or the day! The Second Coming of Jesus Christ will be unexpected and sudden! We have always to be vigilant, watchful, awake, sober and prepared for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!
Today in this Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and our Risen Lord will give us His Holy Spirit to do good works to prepare for his Second Coming, so that when he comes he will say to us, ‘well done, good and faithful servants; you have been faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your Master’s happiness’!
We have often been told to ‘go to hell’, but the good news today tells us to ‘go to heaven’! Go to heaven! This is the good news!
Parish Priest of St Mary, Tawau, Sabah East Malaysia.