18/19 November 2017 Sister Mary’s smile
Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 PRV 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31
Responsorial PsalmPS 128:1-2, 3, 4-5
- (cf. 1a) Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Reading 2 1 THES 5:1-6
AlleluiaJN 15:4A, 5B
- Alleluia, alleluia.
Remain in me as I remain in you, says the Lord.
Whoever remains in me bears much fruit.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel MT 25:14-30
Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
I have a story for you today:
A young woman recently went to visit a sick aunt who lives in a convent. She was not looking forward to the visit because her aunt was diagnosed with terminal cancer. As she waiting for the elevator an elderly nun was getting off. The young women did not know her but we will call her Sister Mary.
Sister Mary was probably in her 90’s. Arthritis kept her from standing up straight and she moved slowly with a walker. As the young woman waited patiently for her to exit the elevator she noticed Sister Mary was well dressed and her black shoes were polished. After Sister Mary got off the elevator she looked up at the young woman, gave her a beautiful smile and said “thank you for waiting so patiently dear. I can’t get around like I used to.”
The young woman was surprised by the unexpected encounter. Sister Mary’s smile lit up the room…even her eyes were smiling. She couldn’t help but say, “Sister you have such a beautiful smile, you have really brightened up my day.”
Sister Mary said, “Thank you dear. God gave me many gifts in my lifetime. I have shared most of them with people living in poverty but I’m afraid my smile is all I have left to give now.”
We are not all called to religious life like Sister Mary but we have all been given gifts or talents by God. It’s up to us to recognize, develop and share those talents throughout our lifetime.
Some talents, like singing in the choir, can be recognized at an early age and shared for a lifetime.
Some talents, like book keeping may be developed at work but easily shared when acting as treasurer for a church committee or charity organization.
Some talents don’t start out looking like a gift from God at all. Most people suffer tragedies in our lives. These tragedies may be related to health or family… finances or addictions. These often become valuable learning and growing experiences and at the right time can be shared to help others. Consider sharing the lemonade God makes out of your lemons.
This risk of not sharing or burying our talents is made clear in the Gospel today. Like the foolish virgins from last week and the sheep and the goats next week, these parables tell us about the end of the world and how our actions in this life will be judged by God. In the next life we all long to hear the words:
'Well done, my good and faithful servant. Come, share your master's joy.’
We certainly don’t want to hear Jesus say to us:
“…throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”
So how do we recognize the gifts or talents we have that we can share with others?
As it turns out we were provided a Time and Talent survey a few weeks ago. We really appreciate the 27 surveys that were turned in but we need more help. This is an active parish with a membership of _______. It takes a lot of people serving in several different areas to keep things going.
The inventory forms are available throughout the church. If you haven’t already, please consider taking one home. Reflect on your talents, dig them up if necessary and return the completed form in the collection basket.
If you saw the flier in the bulletin you may know that Pope Francis has instituted Sunday/today as the First World Day of the Poor. Based on our readings this weekend and next weekend, this is very appropriate so let’s review some of the Pope’s suggestions:
Commit to do at least one work of mercy each day, planning the what, when and how either the night before or the morning before starting the day – maybe a visit or a phone call to someone who is lonely; or donate money to Catholic Charities for its service to the poor; or donate food to a local food bank.
And even though this is not a world day of prayer for the poor, we can and should pray for people who are poor, and for the undoing of what has caused their poverty, and for a sense of responsibility to address that cause and to share with the poor.
- The poor need us to help them live in dignity. In the same way, we need the poor, so that by our care for them, we can show that we are true followers of Jesus. Caring for the poor is an encounter with Jesus and an important practice of our Catholic faith.
Like Sister Mary’s beautiful smile freely given to brighten someone’s day, may we all find talents throughout our life to make this world a better place.