Eleanor Rabnett’s Reflection for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

First Reading: Proverbs 31:10-13, 16-18, 20, 26, 28-31
Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6
Gospel: Matthew 25: 14-30

This weekend’s readings speak loudly to me about “Love”, both how we are loved by God, how we receive that love, then share it with all who we meet. In preparing for today’s Reflection, I noticed that in each of the readings we are presented with the gifts of the Trinity: Creator (in the Proverbs), Jesus, our crucified Saviour (in Matthew’s Gospel), and the Holy Spirit (in Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians) And so will focus on the readings in that order.

Proverbs speak not so much about the “how” of living of a particular gender, but rather about how the Creator of all loves us. I am reminded of how in Genesis 1:27 we are told: “…God created mankind in God’s own image, male and female God created them.” We know that God is not confined to one gender or another but rather is both, and perhaps many… God is love – a flow that is greater than any action – a flow of what is – which we are invited to take part in… It is not confined with walls or borders, by particular images or being hidden in the darkness. “Give her a share in the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the city gates.”

In Matthew’s Gospel we are invited to recognise, ponder and reflect on the parable told by Jesus about the “talents”. In preparing to share this with all of you today I found myself focussing on how the gifts that God lavishes on each of us at our Baptism and then throughout our lives with the Sacraments given and renewed in our lifetime and lived with our very lives. The Jesuit John Foley, invites us to consider that we are invited to take part in “life, abilities, the gift of loving, the living breathing human beings around us and – every so often – real and open acts of unselfish love.” God gives all of this freely along with life’s rewards and catastrophes, and says to us, Dive In. You are my beloved.

It is in this way that we become co-stewards in all of creation, taking part in caring for all of life. Foley adds “there is one thing I know of that will go away if it is buried, but which gets greater if we use it. LOVE.” It is in times like today that we are challenged and fearful of the ongoing spread of hatred, violence and wars around the world: it is right now that we are invited to walk with others, fighting a burdening anxiety while at the same time inviting others to walk with us so that none are left alone. It is the nature of love to continuously fill our hearts and the hearts of all those we meet and walk with.
God exists in gift form. It is about how we choose to live; much like Jesus’s disciples as they met and shared in the Story of Emmaus: becoming stewards of all of creation.

“For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance…” The Gospel also reminds us of our responsibility to share the gifts that God has lavished upon us: if we try to bury them rather than sharing them, they will wither and die in the darkness. Again, we are reminded of the small seeds that once broken open will grow and be nourished, and finally bear fruit to share with the world. It is our responsibility to ensure that we share all of God’s love with each other – whether they be friend or foe.
Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians, reminds us that we are “all children of light.”

“The Good Lord did not give you talents for your own personal use, but in calling you to [Family & Community], …wished you to use these talents for the good of the whole family and especially for those whom [God] places close to you.”

We are reminded that there is no need for fear. We have all been created with the capacity to love and live in the light, to become fruit for others. This is simply a way of loving and being as we serve each other.

I close with the words from Pope Francis in his Homily for this 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2020. “In the Gospel, good servants are those who take risks. They are not fearful and overcautious, they do not cling to what they possess, but put it to good use. – The reason we have gifts is so that we can be gifts for others. And here, brothers and sisters, we should ask ourselves the question: do I only follow my own needs, or am I able to look to the needs of others, to whoever is in need? Are my hands open or are they closed?”

Eleanor Rabnett

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