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33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time - November 19, 2017


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By Deacon Jeff Mevissen

The faith-sharing guide book, At Home With the Word, notes that a biblical talent was a huge sum of money, equivalent to 1.25 million dollars by some estimates.  That means the king invested abundantly in his servants and must have trusted them a great deal.  No wonder the king was sorely disappointed with the servant who failed to make a return.

 

Today we ponder how God has invested in us because God trusts us to make a return on his investment of gifts.  Consider how God has granted you abilities, mental, physical, and spiritual.  Do you use these gifts to glorify God or to gain recognition for yourself?  Consider your personality: if your are a social person do you influence people in a good way or a selfish way?  If you are a private person to you honor God in your solitude?  Consider your virtues: generosity, kindness, patience, creativity and persistence to name a few.  Do you employ these virtues in service to your neighbor?  Consider your experience of God and the supreme advantage of knowing Christ and being saved by him.  Do you share this Good News with others?  Consider your education and the skills you have acquired in life – how are you using these to do something beautiful for God?  Consider your family – the one in which you were raised and the one you may have formed with a spouse?  Do you thank God for the many blessings that have been granted through family?

Consider your vocation and how it has been fruitful.  The first reading today calls us to appreciate our spouse if we are married.  I have heard that cherishing our spouse is like the ballet dancer who lifts the ballerina high into the air so the spotlight shines on her.  Have we cherished our family members enough to lift them up in affirmation?

 

With the mass shootings that have plagued this country – we must ponder how we have squandered the gifts God has granted us as a nation.  The United States is considered a rich nation but in many ways we poor: culturally, politically, spiritually, and in relationships.  Do we engage in good literature, art, and drama or are we stuck playing games?  Do our politics make our nation stronger or engaged in partisan squabbles?  Does our spirituality draw us to transcendence or are we engaged in crass materialism?  Are our relationships healthy or mired in selfishness; the U.S. divorce rate suggests the latter.  When we participate in good and noble activities we are enlarged; when we make poor choices with our time and energy we are diminished.

 

In the story, It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey considers ending his life so that his life insurance can cover a monetary shortfall at the savings and loan office he runs.  When God sends an angel to support him, George confides in Clarence the Angel, that he wished he had never been born.  Clarence then grants George a vision of how the world would be different if he had never been born.  His town of Bedford Falls is seedy and people live in slums because his loan office never helped people buy a house.  His family is a train wreck without him and, of course, his children are never born.  George learns his treasure is in his family, not his wallet.  George sees how an investment in the community us much more important than an investment in a bank.  George sees how he is rich in personal gifts that serve others, not in dollars and cents.  My dear brothers and sisters, when you consider how you are using God’s gifts – does Jesus say to you, “Well done my good and faithful servant?”  Consider me your Clarence to say God has granted you a wonderful life.