Preacher’s Sketchbook: Thirty-third Sunday of the Year

November 10, 2011

Each week, a Dominican member of the Provincial Preaching Advisory board prepares this Preacher’s Sketchbook in anticipation of the upcoming Sunday Mass.  The idea of the Preacher’s Sketchbook is to take quotations from the authority of the Church–the Pope, the Fathers of the Church, documents of the Councils, the saints–that can help spark ideas for the Sunday homily.   Just as an artist’s sketchbook preserves ideas for later elaboration, so we hope the Preacher’s Sketchbook will provide some ideas for homiletical elaboration.



Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

“You were faithful in small matters… Come, share your master’s joy” “I have kept the Lord always before me; since he is at my right hand, I shall not slip” (Ps 16[15],8). For if there is one thing that Jesus asks of me, it is to lean on him, entrust myself to him alone, abandon myself to him without reserve… We should not try to control God’s actions. We must not count the stages in the journey he asks us to undertake. Even if I feel like a boat adrift, yet I must give myself wholly to him. If this seems difficult, remember that we are not called upon to succeed but to be faithful. Fidelity, even in small things, is important – not for the sake of the thing itself, which would be the concern of a small-minded soul, but for the sake of the great thing which is the will of God. Saint Augustine said: «Small things remain small, but to be faithful in small things is a great thing. Isn’t our Lord just the same in a poor guest as in a great one?» (cf. Mt 25,40).

Benedict XVI

The “talent” was an ancient Roman coin of great value and precisely on account of the popularity of this parable it has become synonymous with personal gifts, which everyone is called to develop. In reality, the text speaks of “a man who, going abroad, called his servants and handed over his goods to them” (Matthew 25:14). The man in the parable represents Christ himself, the servants are his disciples and the talents are the gifts that Jesus gives them. For this reason such gifts, apart from natural qualities, represent the riches that the Lord Jesus has left us as a legacy, so that we bear fruit with them: his Word, deposited in the holy Gospel; baptism, which renews us in the Holy Spirit; prayer — the “Our Father” — that we address to God as sons united in the Son; his forgiveness, which he commanded to be brought to all; the sacrament of his immolated Body and his Blood that he poured out. In a word: the Kingdom of God, which is Christ himself, present and living among us. This is the treasure that Jesus has entrusted to his friends, at the end of his brief life on earth. Today’s parable considers the interior attitude with which this gift is accepted and valued. The mistaken attitude is that of fear: The servant who fears his master and fears his return, hides the coin in the ground and it does not produce any fruit. This happens, for example, to those who, having received baptism, Communion, and confirmation bury such gifts beneath prejudices, a false image of God that paralyzes faith and works, so as to betray the Lord’s expectations. But the parable puts greater emphasis on the good fruits born by the disciples who, happy at the gift received, did not hide it with fear and jealously, but made it fruitful, sharing it, participating in it. Indeed, what Christ gives us is multiplied when we give it away! It is a treasure that is made to be spent, invested, shared with all, as the Apostle Paul, that great administrator of Jesus’ talents, has taught us.

Catena Aurea – The Golden Chain

The Golden Chain is a commentary complied by St. Thomas Aquinas of the Gospels by the Early Church Fathers. Matthew Chapter 25 Other Resources

Readings for Thirty-third Sunday of the Year (Year A)

Additional Preaching Resources

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