A Huge Very Small Matter
Malvern Minute

 

November 22, 2017 – Wednesday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr

 

Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (mpoletunow@malvernretreat.com)

 

Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)

 

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (19:11-28)

 

While people were listening to Jesus speak,
he proceeded to tell a parable because he was near Jerusalem
and they thought that the Kingdom of God
would appear there immediately.
So he said,
“A nobleman went off to a distant country
to obtain the kingship for himself and then to return.
He called ten of his servants and gave them ten gold coins
and told them, ‘Engage in trade with these until I return.’

His fellow citizens, however, despised him
and sent a delegation after him to announce,
‘We do not want this man to be our king.’
But when he returned after obtaining the kingship,
he had the servants called, to whom he had given the money,
to learn what they had gained by trading.
The first came forward and said,
‘Sir, your gold coin has earned ten additional ones.’
He replied, ‘Well done, good servant!
You have been faithful in this very small matter;
take charge of ten cities.’

Then the second came and reported,
‘Your gold coin, sir, has earned five more.’
And to this servant too he said,
‘You, take charge of five cities.’

Then the other servant came and said,
‘Sir, here is your gold coin;
I kept it stored away in a handkerchief,
for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding man;
you take up what you did not lay down
and you harvest what you did not plant.’

He said to him,
‘With your own words I shall condemn you,
you wicked servant.

You knew I was a demanding man,
taking up what I did not lay down
and harvesting what I did not plant;
why did you not put my money in a bank?
Then on my return I would have collected it with interest.’
And to those standing by he said,
‘Take the gold coin from him
and give it to the servant who has ten.’
But they said to him,
‘Sir, he has ten gold coins.’
He replied, ‘I tell you,
to everyone who has, more will be given,
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king,
bring them here and slay them before me.'”

After he had said this,
he proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.

 

Reflect: To everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. At first glance, this passage from today’s Gospel appears to be at least unfair, or, perhaps, even cruel. Understood in context, however, the crux of the message is to highlight the importance of making good use of the gifts we have been given. Jesus’ parable speaks of “gold coins” distributed equally – “He called ten of his servants and gave them ten gold coins.” As we approach the end of the liturgical year and the feast of Christ the King, it is no coincidence that Jesus is on the way to Jerusalem – where he will meet his earthly fate – and that the nobleman in the Gospel is leaving “to obtain the kingship.”  The question for us today is: What are we doing to honor our Lord and King by making proper use of the gifts we receive from the Holy Spirit? God is giving us a royal share in his divine Kingdom – a Kingdom that is made manifest already in the places where we live and work – wherever God plants us. We can do holy and awesome things with those gifts to advance God’s Kingdom, or we can squander away the riches we receive. The role of disciples is to evangelize, to give witness to the Way, the Truth and the Life – to build up the Kingdom of God in our midst. We may feel as if we’ve received very little; but yet, as we see in today’s Gospel passage that “little” or faithfulness in “ a very small matter” has the potential to generate “ten cities.” God wants to do a mighty work with us – no matter who we are. Are we willing to trust him and believe that he will unleash all the heavenly hosts to accompany us if we but do his will, for his honor and glory? As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, let’s give thanks to God for all that we have and all that we are. Let’s, also, recommit ourselves to be disciples on fire for the glory of God! May it be so.

 

Questions: Am I grateful for the gifts God has entrusted to me? How do I show that I desire to build up God’s Kingdom here on earth as a faithful disciple? How can I recommit myself to trust Jesus and to be on fire for the sake of his Kingdom?

 

Pray: Loving God, thank you for all that I have and all that I am. Help me to never take for granted the gifts of the Holy Spirit that you generously impart upon me. Give me a spirit of discipleship to desire to make you and your ways known wherever I walk and live.  I pray this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.

                                                                                                           

Saint Cecilia: Pray for us!

Cecilia is remembered as a 3rd century martyr. She was betrothed to Valerian, a wealthy pagan. During her wedding, she removed herself from the festivities and sang her Passio to God: “Let my heart and my body be undefiled, O Lord, that I may not be confounded.” On her wedding night, she converted Valerian to the Faith with the help of an angel. Valerian was later martyred with his brother, Tiburtius. Cecilia was also captured and beheaded, but not before she donated her property to the Church. She is mentioned in the Roman Canon. Cecilia is the patroness of sacred music because of the song of God in her heart.

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ENCOUNTERING DIVINE PHYSICIAN (Gospel of Luke 5: 17-26)

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