The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
How does God establish his kingdom here on the earth? The Jews in Jesus’ time had a heightened sense that the Messiah would appear soon to usher in the kingdom of God’s justice, love, and peace on the earth (Isaiah 11:1-9). Jesus, in fact, spoke in messianic terms of the coming reign of God. Perhaps his entry into Jerusalem would bring about such a change and overthrow of Roman domination.
Parable of the talents
Jesus speaks to their longing for a new kingdom in the parable of a nobleman who went away to receive a kingdom. The parable reveals something important about how God works his plan and purpose with the human race. The parable speaks first of the king’s trust in his subjects. While he goes away he leaves them with his money to use as they think best. While there were no strings attached, this was obviously a test to see if the Master’s workers would be industrious and reliable in their use of the money entrusted to them. The master rewards those who are industrious and faithful and he punishes those who sit by idly and who do nothing with his money.
The essence of the parable seems to lie in the servants’ conception of responsibility. Each servant entrusted with the master’s money was faithful up to a certain point. The servant who buried the master’s money was irresponsible. One can bury seeds in the ground and expect them to become productive because they obey natural laws. Coins, however, do not obey natural laws. They obey economic laws and become productive in circulation. The master expected his servants to be productive in the use of his money.
The Lord rewards those who faithfully use their gifts and talents for doing good by giving them more
What do coins and the law of economics have to do with the kingdom of God? The Lord entrusts the subjects of his kingdom with gifts and graces and he gives his subjects the freedom to use them as they think best. With each gift and talent, God gives sufficient means (grace and wisdom) for using them in a fitting way. As the parable of the talents shows, God abhors indifference and an attitude that says it’s not worth trying. God honors those who use their talents and gifts for doing good. Those who are faithful with even a little are entrusted with more! But those who neglect or squander what God has entrusted to them will lose what they have.
There is an important lesson here for us. No one can stand still for long in the Christian life. We either get more or we lose what we have. We either advance towards God or we slip back. Do you seek to serve God with the gifts, talents, and graces he has given to you?
The Lord Jesus offers us a kingdom of justice, love, and peace and he calls us to live as citizens of this kingdom where he rules as Lord and Master. Through his atoning death on the cross and through his resurrection victory, Jesus frees us from a kingdom of darkness where sin and Satan reign. Through the power of the Holy Spirit the Lord gives us freedom to live as his servants and to lay down our lives in loving service of our neighbors (Galatians 5:1,13).
The Lord expects us to be good stewards of the gifts and graces he gives us
The Lord entrusts us with his gifts and graces and he gives us freedom to use them as we think best. With each gift and talent, the Lord gives sufficient grace and strength for using them in a fitting way. As the parable of the talents shows, God abhors indifference and an attitude that says it’s not worth trying. God honors those who use their talents and gifts for doing good. Those who are faithful with even a little are entrusted with more! But those who neglect or squander what God has entrusted to them will lose what they have. There is an important lesson here for us. No one can stand still for long in the Christian life. We either get more or we lose what we have. We either advance towards God or we slip back. Do you trust in God’s grace to make good use of the gifts and talents he has given you?
“Lord Jesus, be the ruler of my heart and mind and the master of my home and goods. Fill me with a generous and wise spirit that I may use the gifts, talents, time, and resources you give me for your glory and your kingdom.”
THE ONLY WAY TO DEFEAT TERRORISM
“The mother…saw her seven sons perish in a single day, yet bore it courageously because of her hope in the Lord.” —2 Maccabees 7:20
The Seleucids who persecuted the Jewish people at the time of the Maccabean revolt were terrorists. They did not just kill their enemies but did it in such a way as to try to intimidate them. For example, they did not just kill seven Jewish brothers but scalped, dismembered, and fried them one by one, while forcing the remaining brothers and their mother to watch every brutal act. The Seleucids planned that the mother’s anguish would be used to manipulate her sons into becoming traitors to their faith or that they would at least break the spirit of the mother and the Jewish nation by their terrorism.
However, the terrorists’ psychological warfare backfired on them. The mother’s relationship with the Lord and with her sons was so strong that she did not crack under pressure. She strengthened her sons to die heroic deaths, and she followed them in martyrdom. Her faith and her family’s faith was so strong that it defeated the terrorists. Contrary to what many believe, terrorism is not defeated by military might. Because terrorism is demonic, it cannot be defeated by merely human means. It can be defeated only by faith in Jesus, especially by holy families of faith (Mt 17:20-21). Therefore, we must become holy faith-filled disciples of Jesus, or we will be helpless, intimidated, manipulated victims of terrorists.
Prayer: Father, I reject the spirit of fear and accept the Holy Spirit (see 2 Tm 1:6-7; Rm 8:15). Promise: “He, in His mercy, will give you back both breath and life.” —2 Mc 7:23 Praise: St. Paul rejoiced when the gospel of Christ spread to others, even when it increased His suffering (Phil 1:17-18).
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2015 through November 30, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 20, 2015.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements