Unto us it is given so we may blossom in Jesus! Good morning to everyone and welcome to our guests who have found their way to our humble Church so that they may share their living faith with us. It is always a joy to all of us to see new faces in our parish community.
Today's readings echo a wise message of spiritual investments. The good Lord Jesus invested in us, His chosen children. He expects to reap something in return. Anyone who is involved in business knows that money management stresses the importance of getting something in return from your original investment. If the business cannot show a profit, it is a loser. And losers are dumped in favour of better business opportunities that promise profits.
The First Reading from the Book of Proverbs [Prov. 31:10-13, 16-18, 20, 26, 28-31] spoke of a very productive wife that bears fruit in all things. She never sits idle, using every opportunity presented to her to increase the family wealth. Because of her qualities, she is far more precious than jewels.
This capable wife is trustworthy. The husband can count on her to be faithful and productive for the betterment of the home. She is not afraid to learn how to sew and make clothing for the members of the family in order to save money.
From the money that she managed to save, she invests in land. There, she plants a garden in hope of selling the fruits of the seeds that she plants. Not counting the hours that come and go, night and day, she works long hours.
While tending to the worldly needs of the family, she also tends to her spiritual needs and the needs of others. She gives generously to those in need. To those seeking comfort, she speaks gentle words, only wisdom coming from her mouth. She is never idle, having no time for foolishness and gossip.
Her children, well raised in values and the ways of the Lord, show appreciation, thanking her and praising her for being such a happy and wonderful mother. Even her husband recognizes the treasure that he has in his possession, the best of the best.
From each of the characters in this reading, there is something for us to learn. In a way, this wonderful woman is a picture of what we should be, always being fruitful in our ways. The children and the husband are also pictures to us, telling us that we should be thankful to the Lord for all that He has provided for us, praising Him in all things. As the woman is more precious than jewels in the eyes of her family, we are called to be more precious than jewels in the eyes of the Lord.
The Second Reading from the Letter to the Thessalonians [1 Thess. 5:1-6] tells us that since we are children of the light and children of the day, we should not worry about when the Lord shall return. It is sufficient for us to know that when the Lord does suddenly come as a thief in the night, either through His Second and final Coming on Judgment Day or when we are individually called to appear before Him at death, which ever comes first, we will be ready.
According to the promise that we have made when we have received the Sacrament of Baptism, we strive to walk in our living faith. We strive to be like the wife that was just described during the First Reading.
Today's Reading from the Gospel of Matthew [Mt. 24:36, 25:14-30] involved two stories. The first reminded us of the necessity to be watchful at all time. The second, the Parable of the Talents, informed us as to why we must persevere in our living faith, why we must be fruitful in all our thoughts, our words and our actions.
The man who was going on a journey and who summoned his slaves is a picture of Jesus. As the man entrusted his slaves with some talents, the Lord Jesus also entrusted us with spiritual gifts that have been bestowed upon us through the Holy Spirit. Through the Blood of Christ, we received the opportunity to become children of God. Through the Sacrament of Baptism, we became new creations, having received a new heart. To protect and strengthen our new creation, we received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Catholic Church that has been entrusted with the apostolic authority, we received the Sacrament of Reconciliation to maintain our souls in an ongoing state of grace. Through the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, we receive the Living Bread that gives life to our souls. All of these are necessary for our salvation.
As the man expected his slaves to invest the talents that he had entrusted them with in order to be fruitful, the Lord Jesus also expects us to be fruitful. He expects us to appreciate all of the gifts that have just been aforementioned, not only appreciate them but also use them to their greatest potential.
Having received the Holy Spirit, we are expected to grow in the fruit of the Holy Spirit. We are expected to shine as lights in the world, to shine in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. [Gal. 5:22-3] These are the fruit that the capable wife displayed in the First Reading.
> We are expected to love God first with our whole being, above everyone and everything, even above our parents, our spouse and our children. Then, we are expected to love others as we love ourselves. Through these fruit of the Spirit, we become productive, giving in return to the Lord. Our personal efforts and growth to mature spiritually in Christ are the end result that the Lord seeks from us.
To those who persevere in their living faith, when the moment comes for them to appear before the Lord, He will say, "Well done, good and trustworthy child; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master."
To those who are wicked and lazy, having neglected their salvation, the Lord will say, "Take away from them the gifts that they have received. Throw them into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
The wicked and the lazy, they will be stripped of their new creations, their new hearts that have became dull and their talents that they have not nourished in order for them to blossom. They will not be stripped of the Holy Spirit because He will have already departed from them. For the Holy Spirit does not dwell within those who live in sin.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, let us consider ourselves very privileged by the grace of God to be aware of the danger that befalls those who neglect their gifts. Let us always be thankful to the Lord for the gift of the Holy Scriptures that remind us from time to time of the reward that awaits those who persevere in their living faith in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. For it is through Christ that we have our assurance that we will not be counted among those who have failed to acknowledge the spiritual gifts that they have received through the goodness of the Almighty Lord God.