November 19, 2017 – Thirty-third Sunday in ordinary time

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Extend Our Arms
In the Old Testament reading from Proverbs, we are told we are to be a mission-people. It is less about being a good wife than being a good person. In an age of skin-deep celebrities and photo-shopped models, it is good to be reminded that “being good” is not “being pretty.” It is being involved that measures our goodness. How much we “reach our hands out to the poor” and “extend our arms out to the needy.”

The writer of this Proverb tells us that the woman (person) who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Praised At The Gates…
Like the person in this Proverb, it is always good to ask, “Am I praised at the gates of my city,” for my contribution to those in need? The “gates of the city” is where the city is most vulnerable and where the city’s defense lies. Who defends my city’s most vulnerable and am I spoken of with respect by those people?

Fear The Lord
Similarly, the writer of today’s Psalms tells us “Blessed are those who fear the Lord.”

The term for fear can be better translated as “healthy respect.” Remembering this clarification is really important because all the readings this week speak about “fear.”

Thief In The Night
In the second reading from the letters of the New Testament, the author (probably Paul) tells us that the Lord’s arrival will be like a “thief in the night.” That is indeed something to fear. Yet, I know many people who live on the fringes of our society who have nothing to lose by the loss of this world. Most of them are people that one author, Paul Buchheit, would call “Disposable Americans.”

Many are homeless, imprisoned, foster children, street workers; they are the opposite of the 0.01%, results of income inequality in our current economic and political situation.

Do these people know me? Do they call me “Good News?”

Well Done
Finally, we have the Gospel and the very well-known statement, “Well done my Good and Faithful Servant.” Who would not want these words recited at the closing celebration of their life? But what is it the Lord calls, “Well done…” and “Good and Faithful?”

This parable is not about quantity, it is about quality. It’s not about who makes the most out of their silver, but about how they put it to use. No matter what amount of talent we have, do we put it to use in God’s eyes?

From this parable we learn, “Don’t fear risk, fear complacency.”

Live a fail-rich life. If you’re not failing at something, you’re not risking anything.

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