Our Whole Livelihood

When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.

He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”
(Luke 21:1-4)

Scripture Study

21:1 contribution box The Greek word used here, gazophylakion, may refer to a room in the temple or to a box used to collect contributions.

21:2 two small copper coins The coins described here had the least value of any currency in Jesus’ time.

21:4 all the means of subsistence The Greek phrase used here means “all the livelihood” or “all the life,” implying that her giving was so generous it could impede upon her survival. This links the widow’s action to the greatest commandment [While the Hebrew text of Deut 6:5 includes three aspects of loving God, Jesus lists four, including a reference to the “mind.” In ancient Hebrew thought, the heart was the seat of human intelligence and will. When the scribe (teacher of the law) restates the command, he refers to “understanding” rather than “soul” and “mind” (Mark 12:33). Jesus then recognizes that the scribe has answered “wisely” or “with understanding”] and to Jesus’ explanation of what belongs to God [Jesus’ teaching makes clear that His followers should be willing to be subject to political authorities (provided that it does not compromise their allegiance to Him). However, just as denarii belong to Caesar because they bear his image, the whole of one’s life belongs to God because people bear the image of God (Gen 1:26–27)]. 

Scripture Reflection

Friends, today’s Gospel tells of the poor widow who gave her last penny to the Temple treasury. Her behavior makes us consider our possessiveness. What do we tell ourselves all the time? That we’re not happy because we don’t have all the things that we should have or that we want to have. What follows from this is that life becomes a constant quest to get, to acquire, to attain possessions.

Do you remember the parable about the foolish rich man? When his barns were filled with all his possessions, he decided to tear them down and build bigger ones. Why is he a fool? Because (and I want you to repeat this to yourself as I say it) you have everything you need right now to be happy.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

 

Least Ones

Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him.
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Then he will say to those on his left,
‘Depart from me, you accursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me no food,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’
Then they will answer and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?’
He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.’
And these will go off to eternal punishment,
but the righteous to eternal life.”
(Matthew 25:31-46)

Scripture Study

25:31 Son of Man Jesus uses this self-designation more than any other; it comes from the ot book of Daniel (see Dan 7:13 and note). This title occurs 30 times in the Gospel of Matthew and often stresses the exaltation of Jesus. Here, however, it highlights His position as a homeless itinerant. and all the angels with him See 24:30–31.

25:32 a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats When shepherds brought in their flocks at the end of the day, they typically put the goats in a sheltered area while leaving the sheep in an open-air pen.

25:34 Inherit the kingdom prepared for you The Jewish worldview of Jesus’ day envisioned the present age ending with a time of tribulation, followed by divine judgment. Then God’s kingdom—the age to come—would be fully inaugurated. This schema also is reflected in the books of Daniel and Revelation.

The Greek word used for revelation (apokalypsis) carries the idea of “revealing” or “unveiling.” This identifies the function of John’s Revelation: it is revelatory in nature. As an apocalyptic text, it relates to Dan 7–12, as well as portions of the Gospels (see Mark 13) and other deuterocanonical literature of the Second Temple period. While these other works contain apocalyptic literature, Revelation is the only biblical book comprised entirely of such material. The notions of “revealing” or “unveiling” link Revelation to the apocalyptic material of Daniel (see Dan 2:28–30, 45b–47). Much of John’s Revelation refers back to concepts and imagery introduced by Daniel.

Ultimately, Revelation is both “hope literature” and “crisis literature”: it is meant to instill hope during a period of crisis. It tells readers that they will not be harmed spiritually if they remain faithful. It also presents an end to physical suffering—trials will be vindicated when the Lamb judges the nations of the world. The reward for faithfulness will be eternal life spent in the presence of God (see Rev 21:3–5).

25:35 For I was hungry The actions described here (and in the next verse) reflect obedience to the command to love one’s neighbor—and thereby demonstrate love for God, as well (22:37–39).

25:40 for one of these least brothers Jesus’ remarks here call for Christian care to reach all the way to the bottom of the social structure, thus inverting earthly values.

25:41 eternal fire A symbol of divine wrath. Fire also became an image for final punishment—especially connected with the Valley of Ben-Hinnom (2 Chr 33:6; Jer 7:31–32) on the west side of Jerusalem at Wadi er-Rababi.

25:45 for one of these least ones Jesus’ remarks here call for Christian care to reach all the way to the bottom of the social structure, thus inverting earthly values.

Scripture Reflection

The Christian’s role in mission is made so abundantly clear in chapter 25 of Matthew’s Gospel: do we see Christ in every needy person and do we act on that reality in works of charity and compassion?

While “these least brothers of mine” may be understood as Christian disciples, there is a long tradition of identifying them as all people in need. According to this interpretation, Jesus expresses his identification not only with those who have become his followers (his brothers and sisters in the sense of his followers) but with every human person who suffers and is in need of compassion (his brothers and sisters in the sense of all fellow human beings).

After all, Jesus does identify in a special way with the poor and underprivileged, regardless of their age, sex, nationality, or creed. Being their creator, his image is pressed upon every living person (see Gen 1:27).

Likewise, if works of charity and compassion are expected of non-Christians, how much more are the followers of Jesus expected to put love into action through service to others. Those who confess Jesus as “Lord” are obligated to do the will of the Father in all of its various applications in order to “enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 7:21).

– Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

Confining God

Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection,
came forward and put this question to Jesus, saying,
“Teacher, Moses wrote for us,
If someone’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child,
his brother must take the wife
and raise up descendants for his brother.

Now there were seven brothers;
the first married a woman but died childless.
Then the second and the third married her,
and likewise all the seven died childless.
Finally the woman also died.
Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be?
For all seven had been married to her.”
Jesus said to them,
“The children of this age marry and remarry;
but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age
and to the resurrection of the dead
neither marry nor are given in marriage.
They can no longer die,
for they are like angels;
and they are the children of God
because they are the ones who will rise.
That the dead will rise
even Moses made known in the passage about the bush,
when he called ‘Lord’
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob;
and he is not God of the dead, but of the living,
for to him all are alive.”
Some of the scribes said in reply,
“Teacher, you have answered well.”
And they no longer dared to ask him anything.
(Luke 20:27-40)

Scripture Study

20:28 his brother must take the wife A custom called levirate marriage (see Deut 25:5–10). The Sadducees’ hypothetical question applies this law to an absurd situation, apparently seeking to ridicule belief in a future resurrection of the dead and perhaps to mock Jesus.

20:34 this age The present age, before final judgment.

20:35 the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead Refers to the age that will follow final judgment—when God’s enemies are defeated and His kingdom is fully established (compare Rev 20–21).

20:36 They can no longer die They will be immortal. Jesus suggests that marriage is appropriate only for the period leading up to resurrection and immortality.

20:37 even Moses made known Since the Sadducees appeal to Moses in Luke 20:28, Jesus does the same to correct their faulty understanding of resurrection. in the passage about the bush Refers to God’s appearance to Moses in the burning bush (Exod 3:1–6).

20:38 He is not God of the dead Jesus points out that, although Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are dead, God describes His relationship with them using the present tense (Exod 3:6). This ongoing relationship must mean that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob experience life with God after their death—thus proving the truth of resurrection.

20:39 some of the scribes Although these legal experts were among those plotting against Jesus (Luke 19:47–20:1), some who believed in resurrection found themselves impressed by His answer to the Sadducees.

Scripture Reflection

Before answering the difficulty proposed by the Sadducees, Jesus wants to identify the true source of the problem, the human tendency to confine the greatness of God inside a human framework through excessive reliance on reason, not giving due weight to divine Revelation and the power of God.

We can have difficulty with the truths of faith, this should not surprise us for these truths are above human reason, as noted in the Old Testament passage from the Book of Isaiah, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord” Is 55:8. We need to approach Sacred Scripture, and, in general, the things of God, with the humility which faith demands.

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

The Grandeur of God

“Blessed may you be, O LORD,
God of Israel our father,
from eternity to eternity.”

“Yours, O LORD, are grandeur and power,
majesty, splendor, and glory.
For all in heaven and on earth is yours.”
“Yours, O LORD, is the sovereignty;
you are exalted as head over all.

Riches and honor are from you.”
“You have dominion over all,
In your hand are power and might;
it is yours to give grandeur and strength to all.”
(1 Chronicles 29:10, 11, 12)

Scripture Study

29:10 God of Israel, our father Exodus uses this epithet (with the singular “father”); Genesis uses it five times, but Exodus and Deuteronomy prefer “the God of your fathers” (plural). Here and at Exod 3:15–16, the references to God encompass the three patriarchs of Gen 12–50 and link their covenant protector, God Himself, to all of Israel (Exod 3:6).

29:11 Yours, O Lord, is the sovereignty In the Chronicler’s view, David’s dynasty is closely associated with the kingdom of God (e.g., 1 Chron 28:5; 29:23; 2 Chr 13:8). This connection is unique to 1–2 Chronicles. head While the Hebrew word used here, rosh, literally means “head,” it often is used to mean “first” (Prov 8:26) or “chief” (Deut 1:13; 33:5). Here, it indicates that God is exalted as the ultimate ruler of all creation.

29:12 Riches and honor are from you David attributes his success and wealth to God’s blessing. Riches and honor were considered a sign of God’s blessing and approval. When Solomon asked for wisdom, God rewarded him with wisdom as well as riches and honor (2 Chr 1:12). Other righteous kings like Jehoshaphat (2 Chr 17:5) and Hezekiah (2 Chr 32:27) are also described as having riches and honor.

Scripture Reflection

Yours, O LORD, are grandeur and power, majesty, splendor, and glory
1 Chr 29:11

If you have ever been blessed to live in the midst of nature’s glory, the words above that are used in connection to God, can be represented in His creative acts. As you stand at the base of the Rocky Mountains, you are enveloped in its grandeur. When you see Niagara Falls for the first time, you cannot escape the power coming from the crashing water. And when you stand on the rim of the Grand Canyon and survey all that can be seen, you get a glimpse into the majesty and splendor of His creation.

It’s in times of spiritual emptiness that we should make a conscious effort to observe nature, to stand before a glorious sunrise or sunset and realize in that shining moment of newness and light, that everything points to God, the creator of everything. It is then that we can find a pathway back to Him, through the stillness of His glory.

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

 

Indifference

As Jesus drew near Jerusalem,
he saw the city and wept over it, saying,
“If this day you only knew what makes for peace–
but now it is hidden from your eyes.
For the days are coming upon you
when your enemies will raise a palisade against you;
they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides.
They will smash you to the ground and your children within you,
and they will not leave one stone upon another within you
because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”
(Luke 19:41-44)

Scripture Study

As Jesus enters Jerusalem, He weeps and delivers a lament.
19:43 they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides Jesus probably is describing the Romans’ destruction of Jerusalem that will occur in ad 70 (about 40 years later).

19:44 your children within you Jesus is addressing the city itself; the reference to children indicates Jerusalem’s inhabitants, the Jews. The language is reminiscent of several OT passages (e.g., Psa 137:9; Hos 10:14; Nah 3:10). 

Scripture Reflection

because you did not recognize the time of your visitation” Lk 19:44

These historical events will be a punishment for Jerusalem failing to recognize the time of its visitation, that is, for closing its gates to the salvific coming of the Redeemer. Jesus loved the Jews with a very special love, they were the first to whom the Gospel was preached. To them, he directed his ministry and he showed by his word and by his miracles that he was the Son of God and the Messiah foretold in the Scriptures.

But the Jews, for the most part, failed to appreciate the grace the Lord was offering them. Their leaders led them to the extreme of calling for Jesus to be crucified. Jesus visits every one of us. He comes as our Savior; He teaches us through the preaching of the Church; He gives us forgiveness and grace through the sacraments. We should not reject our Lord, we should not remain indifferent to his visit.

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

Hear My Word

Hear, O LORD, a just suit;
attend to my outcry;
hearken to my prayer from lips without deceit.

My steps have been steadfast in your paths,
my feet have not faltered.
I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me; hear my word.

Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings.
But I in justice shall behold your face;
on waking, I shall be content in your presence.

(Psalm 17:1, 5-6, 8, 15)

 

Scripture Study

Psalm 17. The reasons for trust in God, asserted in the previous psalm (cf. Ps 16:1), are repeated in this psalm, which contains many similar words. It also treats of the innocence of the just man (cf. Ps 5:4–7; 7:3–5) and the wickedness of evildoers (cf. Ps 7:2; 10:9), whose “portion” or “inheritance” is described in v. 14 (by way of contrast to Psalm 16:5). Psalm 17 is a typical entreaty by someone who keeps to the right path and desires to trust in God (vv. 4–5; cf. Ps 8).

The psalm can be taken as having three parts, each beginning with an invocation of the name of the Lord or of God (vv. 1–5, 6–12, 13–14). In the first, the psalmist addresses the Lord as a judge, arguing that he is an innocent and just man (vv. 1–5); in the second, he appeals to God for the mercy and protection that he gives a just man against his enemies (vv. 6–12); and in the third, he urges the Lord to intervene by punishing the impious and saving the psalmist (vv. 13–15). The theme of the just man appears at the start and the close of the psalm (vv. 1, 15).

The reward that the sincere man seeks from the Lord—to be filled with his presence (v. 15)—is that which Jesus promises to the clean of heart (cf. Mt 5:8) and that which the book of Revelation records as being given the servants of the Lord in the eschatological city, where “they shall see his face” (Rev 22:4). 

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

Carpe Tempore

At that time Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.
Now a man there named Zacchaeus,
who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man,
was seeking to see who Jesus was;
but he could not see him because of the crowd,
for he was short in stature.
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus,
who was about to pass that way.
When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said,
“Zacchaeus, come down quickly,
for today I must stay at your house.”
And he came down quickly and received him with joy.
When they saw this, they began to grumble, saying,
“He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.”
But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord,
“Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor,
and if I have extorted anything from anyone
I shall repay it four times over.”
And Jesus said to him,
“Today salvation has come to this house
because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.
For the Son of Man has come to seek
and to save what was lost.”
(Luke 19:1-10)

Scripture Study

19:1 Jericho An ancient city in the Jordan Valley, about 10 miles northeast of Jerusalem; conquered by Joshua and the Israelites when the walls collapsed. Jericho is Jesus’ last major stop before entering Jerusalem.

19:2 a chief tax collector Jews typically despised tax collectors as traitors, because they worked for the Roman Empire. a wealthy man Tax collectors often used their authority to take money for themselves. These were some of the most hated people in Israel, due to the nature of their work and their association with the Roman government.

19:3 seeking to see who Jesus was No doubt there was a great commotion as Jesus—a renowned rabbi—and the crowd traveling with Him entered Jericho.

19:5 Zacchaeus, come down quickly Jesus calls Zacchaeus by name and bestows on him the honor of host—again reaching out to someone who is marginalized and despised (e.g., Luke 5:12–14; 7:36–50; 15:1–2).

19:7 at the house of a sinner Jews typically despised tax collectors as traitors, because they worked for the Roman Empire.

19:8 I shall give to the poor As Jesus implies in v. 9, Zacchaeus’ remarks in this verse signify his repentance. This is in stark contrast to the rich young ruler in 18:22–23 who denies Jesus’ command to sell his possession and follow Him. I shall repay it four times over Zacchaeus’ pledge goes well beyond the law of Moses, which generally called for repaying 1.2 times the amount that was stolen or extorted (Lev 6:5; Num 5:6–7). In the case of stolen livestock, more was required (Exod 22:1).

19:9 salvation Refers to deliverance from sin and restoration of right relationship with God. because this man too is a descendant of Abraham Jesus affirms Zacchaeus’ identity as a faithful Jew, despite his detested role as a tax collector.

19:10 to seek and to save Recalls Isaiah’s imagery of restoration (cited by Jesus in Luke 4:18–19), as well as the divine initiative to seek the lost (portrayed in the parables of ch. 15).

Scripture Reflection

Friends, today’s Gospel declares in the story of Zacchaeus how quickly God responds to any sign of faith. Zacchaeus’ climbing the sycamore tree shows he had more than a passing interest in seeing Jesus. He had a deep hunger of the spirit. His principal virtue was his willingness to go to great extremes. But this is what we do when we know that something of great moment is at stake. When our health is endangered, we move, we act; when our job is threatened, we go to almost any extreme to keep it.

When Jesus spotted him he said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down. I mean to stay at your house today.” Christians, God responds to us readily when we show the least interest in him. He doesn’t play hard to get; he is not coy with us. When we seek him, he responds, because loving us is his entire game.

Notice how Jesus tells Zacchaeus to hurry. Don’t wait, don’t hesitate. Seize the moment of conversion when it comes.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

The Great Healer

As Jesus approached Jericho
a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging,
and hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what was happening.
They told him,
“Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”
He shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!”
The people walking in front rebuked him,
telling him to be silent,
but he kept calling out all the more,
“Son of David, have pity on me!”
Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him;
and when he came near, Jesus asked him,
“What do you want me to do for you?”
He replied, “Lord, please let me see.”
Jesus told him, “Have sight; your faith has saved you.”
He immediately received his sight
and followed him, giving glory to God.
When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God.
(Luke 18:35-43)

Scripture Study

18:35–43. The blind man of Jericho is quick to use the opportunity presented by Christ’s presence. We should not neglect the Lord’s graces, for we do not know whether he will offer them to us again. St Augustine described very succinctly the urgency with which we should respond to God’s gift, to his passing us on the road: “Timeo Jesum praetereuntem et non redeuntem: I fear Jesus may pass by and not come back.” For, at least on some occasion, in some way, Jesus passes close to everyone.

The blind man of Jericho acclaims Jesus as the Messiah—he gives him the messianic title of Son of David—and asks him to meet his need, to make him see. His is an active faith; he shouts out, he persists, despite the people getting in his way. And he manages to get Jesus to hear him and call him. God wanted this episode to be recorded in the Gospel, to teach us how we should believe and how we should pray—with conviction, with urgency, with constancy, in spite of the obstacles, with simplicity, until we manage to get Jesus to listen to us.

“Lord, let me receive my sight”: this simple ejaculatory prayer should be often on our lips, flowing from the depths of our heart. It is a very good prayer to use in moments of doubt and vacillation, when we cannot understand the reason behind God’s plans, when the horizon of our commitment becomes clouded. It is even a good prayer for people who are sincerely trying to find God but who do not yet have the great gift of faith.

Scripture Reflection

Friends, today in the Gospel passage we see Jesus’ mercy toward the blind man as a hallmark of his ministry. Jesus comes as healer, savior, inaugurator of the kingdom. He is the embodiment of hope. Jesus wanted to connect human suffering to the very source of life and health. The energy of God pours through him to the needy.

Now I realize a question may be forming in your mind: “Well, why doesn’t he simply cure everyone, then?” The answer is obviously wrapped up in the mystery of God’s will, but the important point is this: Jesus is healer in many senses, but ultimately in the sense that he heals us from sin and death, not only physical maladies. What appears historically in Jesus is an eschatological anticipation, a hint and foreshadowing of what is coming in God’s time and in God’s way.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

Given For Others

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“A man going on a journey
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one–
to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.
Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,
and made another five.
Likewise, the one who received two made another two.
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground
and buried his master’s money.

After a long time
the master of those servants came back
and settled accounts with them.
The one who had received five talents came forward
bringing the additional five.
He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents.
See, I have made five more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said,
‘Master, you gave me two talents.
See, I have made two more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said,
‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person,
harvesting where you did not plant
and gathering where you did not scatter;
so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground.
Here it is back.’
His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!
So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant
and gather where I did not scatter?
Should you not then have put my money in the bank
so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?
Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten.
For to everyone who has,
more will be given and he will grow rich;
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.'”
(Matthew 25:14-30)

Scripture Study

25:14 It will be as when … journey: literally, “For just as a man who was going on a journey.” Although the comparison is not completed, the sense is clear; the kingdom of heaven is like the situation here described. Faithful use of one’s gifts will lead to participation in the fullness of the kingdom, lazy inactivity to exclusion from it.

25:15 Talents: literally, “ten thousand talents.” The talent was a unit of coinage of high but varying value depending on its metal (gold, silver, copper) and its place of origin.

25:18 Buried his master’s money: In the unsettled conditions of Palestine in Jesus’ time, it was not unusual to guard valuables by burying them in the ground.

25:20–23 Although the first two servants have received and doubled large sums, their faithful trading is regarded by the master as fidelity in small matters only, compared with the great responsibilities now to be given to them. The latter are unspecified. Share your master’s joy: probably the joy of the banquet of the kingdom; cf. Mt 8:11.

25:26–28 Wicked, lazy servant: this man’s inactivity is not negligible but seriously culpable. As punishment, he loses the gift he had received, that is now given to the first servant, whose possessions are already great.

25:29 In the New Testament use of this axiom of practical “wisdom” (see Mt 25:29; Mk 4:25; Lk 8:18; 19:26), the reference transcends the original level. God gives further understanding to one who accepts the revealed mystery; from the one who does not, he will take it away (note the “theological passive,” more will be given, what he has will be taken away).

25:30 Matthew inserts into the story about the entrance of Gentiles into the kingdom and the exclusion of those Israelites who, though descended from the patriarchs and members of the chosen nation (the children of the kingdom), refused to believe in Jesus. There will be wailing and grinding of teeth: the first occurrence of a phrase used frequently in this gospel to describe final condemnation (Mt 13:42, 50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30). It is found elsewhere in the New Testament only in Lk 13:28.

Scripture Reflection

Friends, today’s Gospel gives us the challenging parable of the talents. A man goes on a journey, but before leaving he entrusts his money to three of his servants. To one he gives five talents, to a second, two, and to a third, one.

The first man trades with the five talents. The second does the same, and both receive a rich return on their investment. The third man cautiously buries his talent. When the owner returns, he praises the first two servants and gives them greater responsibilities, but the third man he upbraids.

Jesus loved to use examples drawn from the world of business. And he especially liked this dynamic of investment as a model of the spiritual life. The reason is clear, and I’ve said it to you often. God exists in gift form. Therefore, if you want his life in you, you have to learn to give it away. Think of the talents as everything that we’ve received from God—life, breath, being, powers. Because they come from God, they are meant to become gifts. If you cling to them, in the manner of the third servant, they don’t grow; in fact, they wither away.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

Persevere in Love

Jesus told his disciples a parable
about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.
He said, “There was a judge in a certain town
who neither feared God nor respected any human being.
And a widow in that town used to come to him and say,
‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’
For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought,
‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being,
because this widow keeps bothering me
I shall deliver a just decision for her
lest she finally come and strike me.'”
The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says.
Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones
who call out to him day and night?
Will he be slow to answer them?
I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.
But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
(Luke 18:1-8)

Scripture Study

18:1 to pray always without becoming weary In anticipation of the events outlined in 17:22–37.

18:2 neither feared God The judge was indifferent toward God’s law.

18:3 Render a just decision for me against my adversary Moses declares that those who refuse justice for widows (among others) shall be opposed by God (Deut 27:19).

18:4 the judge was unwilling The judge did not care about the widow’s plight.

18:5 this widow keeps bothering me The widow’s persistence eventually provoked the judge to grant her request.

18:7 Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones If the repeated petitions of a helpless widow are granted by a dishonest judge, Jesus’ followers can expect that their righteous God in heaven will respond to their cries for justice.

18:8 will he find faith on earth? The widow’s persistence reflected faith that her request would be granted someday. Jesus calls on His followers to demonstrate this same kind of faith as they wait for His return.

Scripture Reflection

What a wonderful lesson on perseverance. Despite facing great adversity, this widow never gave up. She kept trying. She kept bringing her petition forth, and finally, she was heard. As we look at our own lives, persistent in sharing the reason for the joy in our life? Do we tell our story of how Jesus Christ has impacted our lives?

Have we invited our neighbor to explore their own story in the light of the saving grace of Jesus Christ? Have invited them and been turned down? Has this discouraged us so much that we stopped trying?

It may take accompanying someone for a very long period of time; it may take inviting someone 10, 20, maybe 50 or more times before they actually accept your invitation. But if we stop our efforts, if we fail to persist in love, how will they ever experience the joy of finding the unimaginable and transformative love that comes from Christ?

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.