Homily for November 16, 2014: 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time: Msgr. Jim Miller

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 16, 2014

Reading 1 PRV 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31

Responsorial Psalm PS 128:1-2, 3, 4-5

R/ Blessed are those who fear the Lord.

Reading 2 1 THES 5:1-6

Gospel MT 25:14-30

Click here to LISTEN to this week's homily.


When I read the first reading from Proverbs about a worthy wife my first thought was how does any woman live up to that description!   Then I thought about who would be her worthy husband?   Wisdom is often portrayed as a woman.   I believe it is important to have good women who are examples of faith in our lives.   I think of my mother, Helen, who was a great example of faith and work and I would put her into that category.   I think of Mary, the mother of Jesus and the wife of Joseph as being the ideal example of a worthy wife.  This extraordinary praise of a good woman is not for her personal holiness or activity, but because she is the one on whom everyone can count.   Proverbs praises the man who entrusts his heart to such a wife.

Paul reminds us in the second reading that the “day of the Lord will come like a thief at night”!   We know how many days until Thanksgiving and how many days until Christmas but we do not know when God will come for us.  We have a tendency to deny our death and not reflect on the end of the world.  Paul does tell us to be sober and alert but we also have to have our sleep if we are to be alert the next day. 

Paul wants to assure his community that they have nothing to fear:  While they may have no idea about when that day will come, they know full well how to be ready so that it will be a day of deliverance for them.  He reminds them that they are children of the light, and thus, instead of fearing that day, they can long for it.

Matthew presents the parables of this section of his Gospel as Jesus’ final teachings before he entered into the events of his passion.  A talent was a measure of weight; about 100 pounds.  According to some, a talent was worth at least 5,000 denarii.  One denarius was a laborer’s daily wage.  Thus, one talent of silver could amount to more than the wages one could earn in 15 years!!   Five talents would be more money than one would make in 75 years!!    This man was very trusting of his servants to give them the responsibility for so much money.   He knew his servants well and gave them money according to their abilities.  He wanted them to act in his place, to represent him by administering his goods.  They were given neither detailed instructions nor a supervisor:  He put it all in their hands.  Without explicitly stating so, the master wanted the servants to continue his work.  If he had wanted the money banked or buried, he could easily have done it himself.  Instead, by giving them such responsibility, he planned to reap what he could not sow.

We too have been given a talent, a gift of great value—our faith/God’s love.   How are we investing this faith/love?   Are we bringing about an increase in our faith/love?   Faith/love must be invested.  God expects us to use it in ways that will make it grow, make it spread.  We must risk our gift if it is to become anything more than it is now.

In order to be ready to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner or in order to be ready for Christmas, we cannot wait until the last minute.  Investment managers would tell us quickly that we cannot double our money without long-term investment.  When Jesus comes and asks for His talents back, what are we going to be able to give to Him?

Together, these three readings are perfect for the closing weeks of autumn and the church year.  They remind us to live as children of the light, continuing God’s own investment in us and emulating the wise woman who continued God’s work of creation.  Only by doing that can we prepare ourselves to share in the fullness of Christ’s joy.