The 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – year A – 19 November 2023
Lectionary Readings: Prov. 31:10-13. 19-20.30-31; Ps. 127 (128):1-5; 1 Thess. 5:1-6; Matt. 25:14-30
Theme: Witnesses of love
On the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, we are invited to remember our responsibility as Christians to be conscious witnesses of the project of salvation and liberation to which God all of us. As Psalm 127(128) reminds us, “Happy are you who fear the Lord and who walk in his ways.”
In the first reading of the book of Proverbs, a book that is the result of reflection and experience (“wisdom”) of several generations of ancient “wise men” (Israelites and some non-Israelites), it presents us with the characteristics of the virtuous woman. But in actualizing God’s word to us – men and women – these characteristics serve as a model of service, generosity, fear of God and diligence. It is these values, in the author’s opinion, that ensure us a happy, peaceful, and prosperous life.
In the second reading from 1 Thessalonians, the apostle Paul continues his reflection on the “day when the Lord will come” and on the way Christians should prepare. It is important to remember that the historical context was the imminent second coming of Jesus, but as time passed, the community of Thessalonica began to wonder about the coming of Jesus, and that is why Paul addresses it. Obviously, Paul does not have an indication of the date of the second coming, but he urges that Christians must be careful not to be surprised. How are we to be attentive the Lord: by living soberly and following what Christ taught us, being faithful and vigilant at the arrival of the Lord. When that day comes, will the Lord find us vigilant? “Being vigilant” does not mean looking to the sky waiting for the Lord, forgetting, and neglecting the issues of the world and the problems of others; but it means living, day by day, in accordance with the teachings of Jesus, committing oneself to transforming the world and building the Kingdom.
The narrative from the Gospel of Mathew, an extract from the eschatological discourse, we are also told about the second coming of Jesus by presenting us with the parable of the talents. Before leaving this world, Jesus gave his disciples precious “goods”. These “goods” are the gifts that God, through Jesus, offers to all of us – the Word of God, the values of the Gospel, love, forgiveness, service, mercy, and solidarity – the question for us today is: how are we using these “goods” that God has given us? Have they borne fruit, or have we buried them without using them?
The center of this Sunday’s message is to remember that we are witnesses of Jesus in the world and of the Kingdom of God. It is with our hearts that Jesus continues to love sinners, the marginalized. It is with our arms that Jesus embraces the sick and sad. It is with our lips that Jesus transmits his mercy and his message of love. This is our great responsibility: to let Him continue to love the men and women who walk alongside us in this world, through us.
Reflection: 1. Have I been an instrument of God, using my gifts or have I buried them and lived in my pride, prejudice, and lack of love? 2. What do I need to change so that Jesus will find me vigilant.
Bibliography: McKenzie, J.L. Dictionary of the Bible (New York: 1965)
This week’s Sunday Liturgy Commentary was prepared by
Nayon Nigel Cezar NDS, Israel, ISPS Ratisbonne Contributor