Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31
1 Thessalonians 5:1-6
Matthew 25:14-30 or 25:14-15, 19-21
I grew up the child of Depression-era parents. My dad turned off the lights constantly, he saved string and rubber bands, balled up to a size he could never fully use; he hated waste. So when I read today’s Gospel, I often feel a little sorry for the servant who, out of fear, goes and buries the little that he has been given for fear of losing it. I can relate! It reminds me of how my parents must have juggled risk versus security, trust versus fear, holding on tight versus letting go. Given today’s financial climate, that doesn’t seem like a bad thing after all.
But the readings today aren’t really talking about finances, are they? I love the line in the second reading: "For all of you are children of the light and children of the day. We are not of the night or of darkness…" And the reader might think the next line will be, "So RELAX. Have fun!"
But instead, the next line is a call to consciousness, to awareness: "Therefore, let us not sleep as the rest do, but let us stay alert and sober."
All three of today’s readings celebrate rightful action, trust in God, and a desire to take whatever one is given and use it to its full promise. The worthy wife of the first reading is not to be prized because of her charm or looks, but because of her charity, her dutiful labor and obedience to God. The servants in the Gospel took unquestioningly what the master had given them and faithfully made more of it. They did not mourn that they had not been given enough; they went about their labors and glorified the master with what they could bring forth.
Perhaps these readings can help us to remember to let our trust in God be the center of our lives and to put our labors to good and loving use. And that extra string? Well, maybe we can tie it around our finger as a reminder of how rich God has been making us all along.
Nancy Nickel works with the Passionist Development Office in Chicago.