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33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Church's teaching about the reading from a book of Proverbs
When the first reading was written, 2500 years ago to suggest that a woman was not only not a commodity, that she was beyond price, but also that she should own property, have a share in what she made must have been rather shocking. Indeed our supposedly modern society still has great difficulty accepting that, at least where women are concerned wisdom is more important than beauty.
This reading written by a human writer is a product of the culture in which it was written, the writer intended a particular meaning, but it is also the Word of God. Not only are these words capable of a meaning the writer did not intend but they have meaning intended by God who inspired the writer, who inspires those who search them for meaning and who inspires the Church which teaches their meaning.
The Church has seen a prophecy of Mary, the Mother of God in these words. It is to Mary that the Father with great confidence entrusts the Saviour of the World and as the Saviour hangs on the Cross it is with great confidence that he entrusts the Church to Our Lady. From Heaven our Lady ceaselessly open her arms to all the needy who call upon her, and in the glory of heaven Our Lady enjoys a share in all that, in co-operation with her Son she worked for on earth.
What is a talent in today's parable
The entrusting of Christ to Mary prefigures the gift we receive. You often hear today's Gospel Parable explained as "You must use the gifts God has given you" but that's just explaining a parable with another parable. The important thing is that the talent, the gift, is Christ himself. He gives himself to us in love. He knows us and invites us to grow in knowledge and love of him. He gives himself to us in the Sacraments above in Holy Communion. The response called for may be different but what is important is that the gift is Jesus. We can't bury it. If we do we have turned our back on God's gift which is God himself. That's why the last servant is a wicked Man who must be thrown out into the Dark. What he buried wasn't a facility with languages, skill as an artist, sporting ability or some other talent it was God he buried.
You should know this, St Paul tells us. You are not in the dark anymore. Our lives cannot be slept away. The Gift of God, which is Christ Jesus calling us to grow in love and knowledge of God calls for wakefulness and vigilance. For us the future doesn't really matter, it cannot surprise us - because we have received the gift already and the time to respond is now.
How to respond to God's gift of Himself
Soon Advent begins - think about making a resolution of some kind that during Advent we will in a particular way try to respond to that talent we have received which is Christ. Or, if we have buried it, or part of it, dig it up and get to work.