Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary - Homilies

"Let us allow His light to shine brightly within us and put His grace into action"
Homily for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Fr. Jonathan L. Reardon
November 13, 2011
Year A

Once while staying with a community of sisters working with the Aborigines in Australia Blessed Teresa of Calcutta visited an elderly man who lived in total isolation, ignored by everyone; his home was disordered and dirty. While cleaning the man’s home she discovered a beautiful lamp covered in dust. She asked the man why he never turned the light on. “No one comes to visit me,” he said. “So, I have no reason to light it.” The sisters began to visit him every evening so that he could light that beautiful lamp. Two years after Mother left Australia she received a message from him: “Tell my friend that the light she lit in my life continues to shine still.”

God’s grace works in a similar way – when He comes to visit us, He turns on the light of His love within our hearts. Today’s Gospel speaks quite profoundly about this truth. The servants in the story are ordinary men who do the most menial of tasks. Obviously, the master in the parable trusts them with these talents – measurements of weight that had value. He confides these talents to their safekeeping while he is away. The next part of the parable is important because the master does not give them any instruction, he simply gave them the coins and left, thereby raising the stakes of the story. The servants have complete liberty to do as they see fit with this vast amount of money. What they do then, is significant. The first two double their talents while the last servant buried the one he received – probably out of fear of the demanding persona of the master. Upon the return of the master, he calls his servants to give an account of their dealings. Now, it doesn’t seem like he is interested in making more money, rather, he entrusts those servants with a “deposit of faith” in order to test them, to see if they will act rightly and so to elevate them. Those servants ultimately actualize a potential, given by the master, which would have otherwise gone unrecognized. And so the reward is, “share your mater’s joy.” What is required to share another’s joy? Equality – the master elevates those servants to his own status.

We can interpret these talents as the grace of God. What is grace? Grace is a particular divine gift, freely given, that flows from the benevolence of God to the soul. It is a supernatural reality that changes the quality of the soul and elevates it. The grace of God is given to us primarily in and through the sacraments. This is why the Church has the sacraments because nothing could be more certain than in the outward signs of the sacraments that have been instituted by Christ Himself. Each and every week and day after day, we encounter grace because we encounter God Himself in the Sacrifice of the Mass. Like the master in the parable, in each encounter God freely gives to us His grace and we are entrusted with that grace to actualize it, to make it come alive in our souls and be able to share in the joy of our Divine Master. That is the potential that lies in each of us every time we walk out of the church after Mass. We cannot be like the third servant who buried his talent – we cannot bury the grace that God gives us otherwise it will have no effect on our lives. The Church, in her wisdom, provides the means for achieving such a noble task.

First, we have to acquire an eternal vision of life. Like the servants who are called to give an account of their actions, we too have to have this same attitude. We must remember that our actions have an eternal significance. The experience of God’s grace is what fosters this attitude. He imparts a portion of His Spirit to us that gives us an experience of His love in such a way that makes us hope for that same experience for all eternity. This has to be our frame of mind when we come to Mass, when we perform works of mercy, in our relationships – our family life, friendships, at work and in our community. God will one day call us to give an account of our lives and its up to us to show Him how we have doubled the grace He has given to us in our lives.

Secondly, those two good servants had the liberty to do whatever they wanted with those talents, and yet, they put it to good use, acting rightly, prudently by taking a course of action that perhaps they didn’t want to at first but did so anyway because they knew the master would be pleased. So, the Church gives us her teachings on faith and morals, how we are to conduct ourselves in this life. We certainly have the liberty to do as we please, but true freedom – freedom of the heart – lies in acting in accord with the teachings and commandments of God, even though we may not understand them fully or want to at times because it shows that we are concerned with pleasing Him and that we can be trusted with His grace.
Third, we have to put His grace into action. We are sent forth from this place to make choices and use words that will build each other up in faith and love and be pleasing in the eyes of God. We can do this by going to confession, preparing our hearts and minds for Mass, listening attentively to the readings, the homilies, the prayers, focusing our attention on the sacred ritual action, by receiving Our Lord with the correct disposition, by making an act of thanksgiving before leaving and not rushing out the door. We can do this in other ways as well: visiting the sick, helping the poor, by integrating our faith into our normal everyday lives because it is in these ways that God lifts us up, elevates us, calls us to share His joy and thus brings us into a relationship of equality with Him.

In these ways do we allow God to turn His light on within our souls and so become saints. Let us therefore, immerse ourselves in His graces and so become rich in the things of the spirit. As we come forward for Holy Communion, may we promise our Lord that we will not bury the grace He gives us but rather, starting today, we will allow His light to shine brightly within us and put that grace into action.




Fr. Jon Reardon


Rev. Jonathan L. Reardon is a priest for the diocese of Springfield in Massachusetts.
He serves at Sacred Heart Parish in Pittsfield, MA.




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