33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time A 

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Sometimes I make the mistake of reading something familiar and presuming I know all about it – maybe I’m not alone in this! At our monthly liturgy meetings before we look at possible music/ hymns we take it in turns to read the Gospel for that Sunday and then discuss it so before I looked at it this week I knew what was coming – or I thought I did. 
 
Re-reading it this week and praying about it led me to a couple of things I hadn’t thought of/ noticed before: 
The man entrusted his property to these 3 servants. Why? What a risk he was taking! Was he a risk taker? Yes, if we remember that God is the man/ the master. The master – God – takes risks. He looks at his servants and makes an assessment of what he thinks they can achieve but then he trusts them to get on with it. He trusts them, even encourages them, perhaps, to do it in their own way. He risked losing all of it. 
 
As we know trust begets trust – we know this as parents, grandparents, educators, friends, partners – if we trust people, REALLY trust them, we are not usually disappointed, and if we are the ones trusted we aim to rise to the occasion. We want, like the first two servants, to prove our worth, give opportunity to our talents. If this is so for the master and servants in the parable, how much more so is it true in our relationship with God? 
 
But what about the 3rd servant? He was a bit like a self-fulfilling prophecy. He got 1 talent according to his ability. But it was the fact that the Gospel says ‘I had heard you were a hard man reaping where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered; so I was afraid, and I went off and hid your talent in the ground.’ In other words he didn’t know his master, it was hearsay. Why would you try and earn money for someone like that? 
 
For some people their relationship with God is a bit like that of the 3rd servant and his master – one of fear. God is thought of as trying to catch them out. He is someone deemed as being hard. In other words the servant was afraid. Perhaps it was because he didn’t know him very well. We remember that St John writes that ‘perfect love casts out fear.’ His problem and that of many people, is a wrong or maybe an incomplete knowledge/ relationship with God. Such knowledge, or lack of it, then colours our behaviour, our responses. 
 
It seems then that we should be more like the first 2 servants – let us be people who do not leave things as they are, people who want, and make, change happen. It is no good us having gifts and talents, good ideas or wonderful plans if we do not do anything with them. Yes, maybe everything won’t be successful or maybe it will be hard doing something new or different but if our intentions are honest and true and if we out our trust in God then we have to believe that like the first 2 servants we will hear God say to us, ‘well done, good and faithful servant.’ 
 
Sr. Margaret Mattison