The Gift of Faith

11-15-2020Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian

Our church often adopts processes, dynamics, and terms from the business world to help us understand, improve, and maintain our various combination functions. We are advised at meetings that our talks, homilies, written articles, letters, bulletin pieces, and social media pages should always be “on message” and “on task”. I often say that when giving a homily, it should take off, then fly purposely and directly and then come into land at its destination. Too often bishops, priests, deacons, vowed religious, and laypeople wander around in their sermons, homilies, or talks without clear purpose or message and also never seem to end the main thought of their talk; it just simply never lands until it crashes. Homilies, talks, speeches, etc. should con-tribute greatly to our faith development. We need our public speakers to be people who have a vision and understanding of our faith and are willing to share it clearly and directly with us. Too often homilies and talks are just loaded up with everything but the sacristy sink! Too much is in fact usually too much. Often the less said is more said well.

Our reading from the Old Testament this week has an example of someone who is a great communicator. It is the story of one person at her best—the valiant woman, the strong wife, and homemaker. Bear in mind that this passage is not intended to advise mothers and wives everywhere or anywhere. . It is, rather, a picture and image of a person who is good at what she does. She knows her vocation and goes about it with love and attention and skill. She is clear, direct, and purposeful. The message is easily delivered and understood.

This weekend’s Gospel passage is meant to be thought about in light of last week’s Gospel of the wise and foolish virgins. Wisdom and common sense are true and authentic Christian virtues! This week there is an ultimate clarity to the meaning of this story of these servants. Each servant is given a share of responsibility proportionate to each one’s skill level. Their task is clearly set forth. The coins are not gifts; they are clearly to be understood as responsibilities. Also, there are conditions attached. Bear in mind their master does expect the impossible from them. He expects them to act productively while he is away until the unknown time of his return. The only good news is no one spent their coins on foolishness or junk. Sadly, though, one of them simply hoards the coins. Those who invest their coins are praised and the one who does nothing and only hoards are condemned.

Clearly, the message is we are to live an active life of faith. We are to take the gift of faith that we have been given and share it with others. We are never to hide it. As the master in the Gospel does not tell the servants how to act, but that they must act in real and practical ways, we also must carefully consider how and in what real and practical ways we can live the Way of Je-sus Christ. One of the great charisms and gifts of Catholicism is that it offers many ways to live a life of faith. The issue is: will we step up and live that life every day?