Peace and grace to you!
The first scripture reading depicts a woman of virtue who is industrious in all her affairs. It seems like she has thought of everything and that she has applied herself to become expert in every detail of running her household. Her family must feel blessed to have such wonderful care and wise counsel! It is obvious that she is thoughtful of others too because she makes it a point to provide something to share with those in need. This woman mindfully serves the Lord and models good stewardship and we see how God blesses her with abundance.
The Gospel parable praises the people who are most industrious at using their goods for gain, doubling what they have for a profit. The ones who doubled their wealth were praised while the one who, out of fear, took no risk and made no effort to gain was condemned.
As Christians, we don’t usually look at ourselves the way the parable invites us to. We don’t think of God as a stern master who expects a lot from us. The story effectively creates within us a sense of urgency and dread. We are supposed to want to be the praiseworthy, industrious stewards and avoid being like the lazy one that just made excuses for why he couldn’t make a profit. As we approach the Solemnity of Christ the King, we must consider the gifts and talents that we have received from God and how we have used them to serve others: fruits for God. It is also important to reflect upon the forces of fear and self-interest and the times that they have influenced us away from living a life of charity more fully. For his part, God doesn’t hold anything back from us; he gives his all even when we don’t deserve it.
Like you, I want to respond to God more generously with what I have for the good of all. The best way for that to happen is to give God his rightful place as the priority of my life. If I truly place God first and trust that whatever I have belongs to him, I am more free to be generous in love and service to others for God. There is joy and peace in that! One secret I do know, God cannot be outdone in generosity! If I give a little, God gives abundance in return!
God bless you always! +++ Fr. Peter