Sunday Readings and Reflections

Willem de Poorter’s ‘Parable of the Talents’ in the Narodni Galerie, Prague

Sunday, November 15 
Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time 

Roman Ordinary calendar

St. Albert the Great | St. Raphael Kalinowski – O.C.D. († 1907)

Book of Proverbs 31,10-13.19-20.30-31.

When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls. 
Her husband, entrusting his heart to her, has an unfailing prize. 
She brings him good, and not evil, all the days of her life. 
She obtains wool and flax and makes cloth with skillful hands. 
She puts her hands to the distaff, and her fingers ply the spindle. 
She reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy. 
Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her a reward of her labors, and let her works praise her at the city gates. 

Psalms 128(127),1-2.3.4-5.

Blessed are you who fear the LORD, 
who walk in his ways! 
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork; 
blessed shall you be, and favored. 

Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine 
in the recesses of your home; 
Your children like olive plants 
around your table. 

Behold, thus is the man blessed 
who fears the LORD. 
The LORD bless you from Zion: 
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem 
all the days of your life. 

First Letter to the Thessalonians 5,1-6.

Concerning times and seasons, brothers and sisters, you have no need for anything to be written to you. 
For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night. 
When people are saying, “Peace and security,” then sudden disaster comes upon them, like labor pains upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 
But you, brothers, are not in darkness, for that day to overtake you like a thief. 
For all of you are children of the light and children of the day. We are not of the night or of darkness. 
Therefore, let us not sleep as the rest do, but let us stay alert and sober. 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 25,14-30.

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.’” 

Angelus address by Pope Benedict XVI, St. Peter’s Square,
Sunday, 13 November 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The word of God of this Sunday — the second to last Sunday of the liturgical year — warns us of the transience of our earthly existence and invites us to live it as a pilgrimage, keeping our gaze fixed on the destination for which God has created us. Moreover, since he made us for himself (cf. St Augustine, Confessions 1, 1), he is our ultimate destination and the meaning of our existence.

Death, followed by the Last Judgement, is an obligatory stage to pass through in order to reach this definitive reality. The Apostle Paul says: “the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night” (1 Thess 5:2), that is, without warning. May knowledge of the glorious return of the Lord Jesus spur us to live in an attitude of watchfulness, waiting for his manifestation and in constant remembrance of his first Coming. 

In the well known Parable of the Talents — recounted by the Evangelist Matthew (cf. 25: 14-30) — Jesus tells the story of three servants to whom their master entrusted his property, before setting out on a long journey. Two of them behaved impeccably, doubling the value of what they had received. On the contrary, the third buried the money he had received in a hole. On his return, the master asked his servants to account for what he had entrusted to them and while he was pleased with the first two he was disappointed with the third. 

Indeed, the servant who had hidden his talent and failed to make it increase in worth, had calculated badly. He behaved as if his master were never to return, as if there would never be a day on which he would be asked to account for his actions. With this parable Jesus wanted to teach his disciples to make good use of his gifts: God calls every person and offers talents to all, at the same time entrusting each one with a mission to carry out. It would be foolish to presume that these gifts are an entitlement, just as failing to use them would mean failing to achieve our purpose in life. 

In commenting on this Gospel passage St Gregory the Great noted that the Lord does not let anyone lack the gift of his charity, of his love. He wrote: “brothers, it is necessary that you pay the utmost attention to preserving love in everything you must do” (Homilies on the Gospel, 9, 6). After explaining that true charity consists in loving enemies as well as friends, he added: “if someone lacks this virtue, he loses every good he possesses, he is deprived of the talent he received and is cast out into the darkness” (ibid.). 

Dear brothers and sisters, let us accept the invitation to be watchful, of which the Scriptures frequently remind us! This is the attitude of those who know that the Lord will return and that he will wish to see the fruits of his love in us. Charity is the fundamental good that no one can fail to bring to fruition and without which every other good is worthless (cf. 1 Cor 13:3). If Jesus loved us to the point of giving his life for us (cf. 1 Jn 3:16), how can we not love God with the whole of ourselves and love one another with real warmth? (cf. 1 Jn 4:11). It is only by practising charity that we too will be able to share in the joy of Our Lord. May the Virgin Mary teach us active and joyful watchfulness on our journey towards the encounter with God.

Traditional Latin Mass readings for the resumed 6th Sunday after Epiphany

Parable of the Mustard Seed

EPISTLE 1 Thessalonians 1: 2-10

Fratres: Grátias ágimus Deo semper pro ómnibus vobis, memóriam vestri faciéntes in oratiónibus nostris sine intermissióne, mémores óperis fídei vestræ, et labóris, et carítátis, et sustinéntiæ spei Dómini nostri Jesu Christi, ante Deum et Patrem nostrum: sciéntes, fratres, dilécti a Deo, electiónem vestram: quia Evangélium nostrum non fuit ad vos in sermóne tantum, sed et in virtúte, et in Spíritu Sancto, et in plenitúdine multa, sicut scitis quales fuérimus in vobis propter vos. Et vos imitatóres nostri facti estis, et Dómini, excipiéntes verbum in tribulatióne multa, cum gáudio Spíritus Sancti: ita ut facti sitis forma ómnibus credéntibus in Macedónia et in Achája. A vobis enim diffamátus est sermo Dómini, non solum in Macedónia et in Achája, sed et in omni loco fides vestra, quæ est ad Deum, profécta est, ita ut non sit nobis necésse quidquam loqui. Ipsi enim de nobis annúntiant qualem intróitum habuérimus ad vos: et quómodo convérsi estis ad Deum a simulácris, servíre Deo vivo, et vero, et exspectáre Fílium ejus de cælis (quem suscitávit ex mórtuis) Jesum, qui erípuit nos ab ira ventúra.

Brethren: We give thanks to God always for you all, making a remembrance of you in our prayers without ceasing, being mindful of the work of your faith and labor and charity, and of the enduring of the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ before God and our Father: knowing, brethren beloved of God, your election: for our Gospel hath not been unto you in word only, but in power also, and in the Holy Spirit, and in much fullness, as you know what manner of men we have been among you for your sakes. And you became followers of us and of the Lord, receiving the word in much tribulation, with joy of the Holy Spirit: so that you were made a pattern to all that believe in Macedonia and in Achaia. For from you was spread abroad the word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia and in Achaia, but also in every place your faith, which is towards God, is gone forth, so that we need not to speak any thing. For they themselves relate of us what manner of entering in we had unto you; and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven (whom He raised up from the dead), Jesus, who hath delivered us from the wrath to come.

GRADUAL Psalms 43: 8-9

Liberásti nos, Dómine, ex affligéntibus nos: et eos, qui nos odérunt, confudísti. In Deo laudábimur tota die, et in nómine tuo confitébimur in sǽcula. (Ps. 129:1-2) Allelúja, allelúja. De profúndis clamávi ad te, Dómine: Dómine, exáudi oratiónem meam. Allelúja.

Thou hast delivered us, O Lord, from them that afflict us: and hast put them to shame that hate us. In God we will glory all the day: and in Thy name we will give praise forever. (Ps. 129:1-2) Alleluia, alleluia. Out of the depths I have cried to Thee, O Lord: Lord, hear my prayer. Alleluia.

GOSPEL Matthew 13: 31-35

In illo témpore: Dixit Jesus turbis parábolam hanc: Símile est regnum cælórum grano sinápis, quod accípiens homo seminávit in agro suo: quod mínimum quidem est ómnibus semínibus: cum autem créverit, majus est ómnibus oléribus, et fit arbor, ita ut vólucres cæli véniant, et hábitent in ramis ejus. Aliam parábolam locútus est eis: Símile est regnum cælórum ferménto, quod accéptum múlier abscóndit in farínæ satis tribus, donec fermentátum est totum. Hæc ómnia locútus est Jesus in parábolis ad turbas: et sine parábolis non loquebátur eis: ut implerétur quod dictum erat per Prophétam dicéntem: Apériam in parábolis os meum, eructábo abscóndita a constitutióne mundi.

At that time Jesus spoke to the multitudes this parable: The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field: which is the least indeed of all seeds: but when it is grown up, it is greater than all herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and dwell in the branches thereof. Another parable He spoke to them: The kingdom of heaven is like to leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened. All these things Jesus spoke in parables to the multitudes: and without parables He did not speak to them: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Prophet, saying: I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden from the foundation of the world.

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4 Responses to Sunday Readings and Reflections

  1. Alex Antunes says:

    Benedict XVI comment’s is amazing! What a great wisdon and knowleged!


  2. Alex Antunes says:

    It is interesting to note through Benedict XVI’s commentary that this Sunday’s Gospel refers to the Last Judgment and not only to the temporal administration of our gifts and talents.

    “Death, followed by the Last Judgement, is an obligatory stage to pass through in order to reach this definitive reality. The Apostle Paul says: “the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night” (1 Thess 5:2), that is, without warning. May knowledge of the glorious return of the Lord Jesus spur us to live in an attitude of watchfulness, waiting for his manifestation and in constant remembrance of his first Coming.” (Pope Benedict XVI)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Robert John Bennett says:

    Yes, Benedict XVI’s comment IS amazing, as Alex Antunes writes. When will we again have a pope who can think such thoughts and write such things?


  4. Alex Antunes says:

    Good Question, Robert John Bennet!
    I miss Benedict XVI! What a great Pope he was! Sad times we living in. 😥


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