Newsletter- 33rd Week of Ordinary Time
On the 33rd Sunday in ordinary Time – Year A, we are invited in the Gospel passage from St Matthew to focus our thoughts upon the ideas of stewardship and responsible use of our resources. The parable encourages us to make the most of what we have, rather than hoarding or hiding it. The servants who doubled their talents took initiative and were rewarded, whereas the one who buried his talent was rebuked. The message in the gospel is clear about action and accountability. We are reminded that what we’re given—whether it’s money, skills, or opportunities—should be utilised for a greater good. The idea is to grow and multiply these gifts, presumably for the benefit of the community or, in the religious context, for the Kingdom of God. Fear holds back the third servant, and he fails to do anything productive. His approach is caution to the point of inaction, and he’s criticised for it. The parable suggests that doing nothing with our resources or abilities is not an option; it’s a failure to meet a basic responsibility entrusted to us all.
Overall, the gospel for this Sunday, is a call to each of us to make the most of what we are given in life, and to use our gifts and talents wisely and to share generously with one another, especially the neediest in our society, what we have been given materially too. The parable we hear this Sunday pushes the point that being a good steward of the gifts we have been given is a key part of our ethical and religious life.
This Sunday is The Day of Special Prayer for the Poor (World Day of the Poor) – The theme for World Day of the Poor 2023 is a passage from the Book of Tobit: “Do not turn your face away from anyone who is poor. Our Holy Father reminds us: “Tobit, was a blind and elderly man who dedicated his life to the service of others, and he can show practical concern for the poor because he has personally known what it is to be poor. Christians are called to acknowledge every poor person and every form of poverty, abandoning the indifference and the banal excuses we make to protect our illusory well-being. We cannot look away, for that would prevent us from encountering the face of the Lord Jesus,”
Pope Francis lists an array of cultural phenomena that prevent people from caring for the poor: greater pressure to live affluently, a tendency to disregard suffering, virtual reality overtaking real life and a sense of haste that prevents people from stopping to care for others. He offered the parable of the Good Samaritan, who stops to help a man in the street beaten by robbers, to counter the hang-ups many people have against helping the poor. Pope Francis reminds us that the parable: “is not simply a story from the past; it continues to challenge each of us in the here and now of our daily lives. It is easy to delegate charity to others, yet the calling of every Christian is to become personally involved.”
Whilst recognising the need to pressure public institutions to defend the poor, the Pope praises volunteers who serve the common good in a: “spirit of solidarity and subsidiarity,” saying: “it is of no use to wait passively to receive everything ‘from on high.” The Pope also points to the way poverty is exacerbated by inhumane working conditions, inadequate pay, the “scourge” of job insecurity and by workplace accidents resulting in death. Young people, he said, are also afflicted by a cultural poverty that destroys their self-worth and leads to frustration and even suicide. He urges us all to remember that: “the poor are persons; they have faces, stories, hearts and souls. Caring for the poor is more than simply a matter of a hasty handout,” Truly caring for the poor Pope Francis reminds us: “calls for re-establishing the just interpersonal relationships that poverty harms.“
This Sunday after Mass from 11 am, a small group from the parish, led by Jun and Melanie Maniago, will be meeting together during the morning and afternoon in the Passage building and, in the church, to understand more about the Catholics for Family Life – and the Basic Faith Formation programme. You will have read about this initiative in the Bulletin during the past few weeks. I hope following on from this meeting we shall be able to launch the Basic Faith Formation programme for interested parishioners within the parish during the coming year ahead. Please keep our meeting this Sunday in your prayers, that all concerned with the practicalities of moving the BFF forward in our parish may be guided by the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit.
Little by little I am feeling more myself again, and a great deal better than I have been feeling these past two weeks, and whilst at times I still get very tired and must rest, I hope this coming week to be able to engage more fully and actively within my pastoral ministry as your parish priest. I would like to thank each of you for your prayers, care, generosity and support of me and of the parish during the time that I have been unwell.
With my prayers for you and for your families during the coming week,
Your parish priest and friend,
2023 19th November – Newsletter – Download