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Reflection on the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted on November 19, 2023, by Agnes Ann Schum SL

Matthew 25.14-30

 In an old Rabbinic tradition regarding the final judgment, a person might be saved if on the day of judgment that person’s good actions totaled more than their bad actions.  Thus, in this bookkeeping view of judgment a person whose bad actions totaled 4,999 would be saved if their good actions totaled at least 5,000.       

 We can be grateful our God is not an accountant. It is not enough merely to do one’s appointed tasks and come before God with evened out numbers; God requires initiative in doing good.

Matthew goes all out in his rendition of the parable of the talents. Each talent Matthew mentions equals about 20 years wages. We shouldn’t feel too sorry for the servant who got only one. The owner was not only wealthy, but extravagant in his trust. While the numbers are astounding, Jesus’ emphasis is on the way each servant understood his relationship to the owner. Two of the servants earned double by investing following the owner’s example. The third servant was more concerned with fear of the master so he buried his talent lest he lose it.

Perhaps we can understand the parable in this way.  We are the servants who have received the talents of love, kindness and forgiveness from the hand of God.  In light of Jesus’ teaching, we, the servants, must do for others what God has first done for us. We must multiply those gifts by using them for others. Every one of us is uniquely constituted to play a role in the advancement of God’s kingdom.  

Every day we have many opportunities to use the gifts God has given us. Like the first two servants we are also called to take risks, stepping out in faith and  watching to see God move as we trust in God’s promises.  

Here at the Motherhouse this weekend we have celebrated Sister Lupe’s life through the wake service and funeral Mass. We have listened to many words and wonderful stories about Sister Lupe and the good she has done for the Hispanic community here in this Kentucky region. 

Rather than add any more words, let me just say: Be grateful for your gifts, hang your baptismal certificate on the wall, and do what you are called to do for God’s people.


Agnes Ann Schum SL

Agnes Ann , who resides at Loretto Motherhouse in Nerinx, Ky., is a member of the Motherhouse’s pastoral community care team.