A Museum or a Living Garden | Word from the Shepherd No. 106 | 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

33rd Ordinary Sunday A
Prov. 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31; 1Thes. 5:1-6; Mt. 25:14-30

How to stay safe without taking risk:

  1. Avoid riding in automobiles because they are responsible for 20% of all fatal accidents.
  2. Avoid staying at home because 17% of all accidents occur in the home.
  3. Avoid walking on streets or sidewalks because 14% of all accidents occur to pedestrians.
  4. Avoid traveling by air, rail, or water because 16% of all accidents involve these forms of transportation.
  5. Of the remaining 33%, 32% of all deaths occur in Hospitals. So, above all else, avoid hospitals.
  6. But you will be pleased to learn, only .001% of all deaths occur in worship services in Church.

Can we stay safe without taking risk?

That was the sin of the third servant? Some say: it was the lack of faith, fear, laziness, realism and being practical. But the scripture indicates 3 things: There was no creativity, no risk-taking and no fruit-bearing. Preserve what we have, keep safe.

The institutions of those days and even today’s (ie. the Temple, the Church and the Institutional Religions) reflect the same sin. They were saying PRESERVE the deposit of faith, the traditions, the good practices, the given, the established, etc. PRESERVE the old ways ie. repeating monotonous ways of the past, ignoring today’s thoughts and questions of people, not transmitting light or hope. PRESERVE old attitudes ie. burying ourselves in prudence and conservation of the past.

But Jesus saw differently . The message HE delivered was challenging. He talked of:

  1. Creativity not conservatism
  2. Active response to God and not living a sterile passive life
  3. Transforming the world and not being obsessed with playing safe
  4. Opening new paths and not being buried under conformism

What was Jesus actually saying: Recognise your opportunity or opportunities when God offered them.

The scriptures offer us 3 models: the perfect wife, the children of light and the faithful servant.
In them, we see:

  1. Resoluteness: They were purposeful, not wavering, and gave the best of themselves.
  2. Resourcefulness: They made use of what they had, and responded in the here
  3. Risk-takers: They were daring, courageous and creative
  4. Reign of God: They saw the kingdom as the priority. It was God’s agenda not personal agendas, not personal gratification. They pointed out the God in our midst and opened the doors to the sacred.

There is a third servant in all of us. We work to preserve the past, conserve the old and play safe or “lock ourselves in the safe”. Of course, we could be like the perfect wife of the Book of Proverbs or the children of light or the faithful servants of the Gospel, bringing new attitudes into the church and the world. We reflect these new attitudes when there is creative searching, boldness, risk-taking and listening to the Holy Spirit. New attitudes make everything new.

Pope St John XXXIII once said,”We are on earth, not to guard a museum, but to cultivate a flourishing garden of life.”