Wednesday November 16, 2005 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Reading (2 Maccabees 7:1, 20-31) Gospel (St. Luke 19:11-28)
When we hear the words of Our Lord in the Gospel reading today, first about these people who hated Him and would not receive Him as their king, and then also regarding the servants to whom He had entrusted each a gold coin, we, of course, who claim to believe in Jesus, are those servants to whom He has entrusted His truth. Indeed, He has entrusted His very self to us in the Blessed Sacrament. So each one of us has been given this exceptionally valuable gift from Our Lord, and we are asked to do something with it.
Unlike just going and trading with a gold coin, what we are to do with the faith that we have been given is to make it grow. We can, each one of us, ask ourselves, “If I were to stand before the Lord today, what would I be able to show Him? What would I be able to say to Him about how much this gift that He has given to me has netted?” Could we really be able to show that we have done great things with this gift, through our lives of prayer and good works, through our lives of evangelical service in bringing Christ to others? Do we live the Faith out in the world, or is it something that we just keep hidden? If we come to Mass in the morning but then go out and live like pagans, that is like the guy who hid his coin in the handkerchief and then brought it back to the Lord to say, “Here’s Your coin back.” That is not going to be an option. Just to be able to say, “Well, I have to protect this so I don’t lose it,” is not going to be an acceptable thing on the Day of the Lord. We have to use what He has given us because it is the purpose for which it has been given.
We recognize also in this context these enemies who did not want Him to be their king. If ever there has been a day where it is more clear that Our Lord is being rejected, it is in our own time. We live in a society where there are more and more people who are falling away from their faith. We live in a society where paganism and other groups like Islam, who reject Our Lord as far as His divinity goes, are growing. We see that even among retailers it is acceptable to say, “Happy Hanukkah,” it is acceptable to say, “Merry Kwanzaa,” but it is forbidden for employees to say, “Merry Christmas,” because, after all, that is Christian and that is religious and we cannot accept that–as though somehow those others are not. We see that it is acceptable to celebrate anything except Jesus. It is acceptable to believe in anything but Jesus. They have rejected Him as the king.
If we are going to say that we accept Him as our King and we are His servants then we need to put ourselves in His service. We need to make sure we are using what He has given us to be able to extend His kingdom so that when we stand before Him we are going to give to Him a glorious return on the deposit that He has given to us. We, each of us, need to ask Him what it is that He wants us to do. How does He want this return? Because we have different personalities and because we have different abilities and gifts and talents, each one of us is going to be able to employ what Our Lord has given to us in different ways. In that way, everything will be covered because each person will be approaching things from a different perspective and at a different level. There will be no one, then, who will be able to say that they did not know the Lord or that they did not have an opportunity to hear about Him.
So it is not a question of who has the better thing, or, “How come I can’t do it that way,” but it is simply a question of, “What does God want me to do with what He has given to me,” and then, “Am I doing what He wants me to do with what He has entrusted to me?” That is what each of us needs to concern ourselves with, to make sure that with this wonderful gift which God has given us that we are employing it according to His Will and for His greater glory. In that way, not only will the Gospel be spread, but we will save our own soul and hopefully a number of others with us. That is what He is looking for. We live in a time when He is being rejected, when the enemies of Our Lord and of His Church are definitely growing, and their arrogance is pretty astounding. And so if we are going to claim to be His servants, we now have the opportunity to prove it.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.