Celebrate Sunday Mass - 11.19.23

NOVEMBER 19, 2023 -- 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

11/19/2023 (7 months ago)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

My friends, brothers, and sisters in the Lord

In an Apostolic Letter entitled"The Lords Day" (Dies Domini),Pope St John Paul II gave a summary of the Christian understanding of Sunday, and underscored our obligation to honor the Lords Day. The Letter began with these words:

"The Lord's Day - as Sunday was called from Apostolic times - has always been accorded special attention in the history of the Church because of its close connection with the very core of the Christian mystery. In fact, in the weekly reckoning of time Sunday recalls the day of Christ's Resurrection. It is Easter which returns week by week, celebrating Christ's victory over sin and death, the fulfilment in him of the first creation and the dawn of "the new creation" (cf. 2 Cor 5:17). It is the day which recalls in grateful adoration the world's first day and looks forward in active hope to "the last day", when Christ will come in glory (cf. Acts 1:11; 1 Th 4:13-17) and all things will be made new (cf. Rev 21:5)".

Sometimes, Catholics and other Christians refer to Sunday as a "Christian Sabbath". Though well intentioned, this is incorrect. Sunday is "the Lords Day". This apostolic letter cites the biblical sources and the writings of the early Church manuals and early Church Fathers. The readings for the Sunday Mass set a framework for us to reflect on throughout the coming week.

Our first reading for Sunday's Holy Mass is taken from the 31st chapter of the Book of Proverbs. It offers selected verses. In our daily readings on Catholic Online we use the New Jerusalem Translation of the Bible. In this instance, it is not the best translation. A better translation is the Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition. The entire proverb is entitled "Praise of a Good Wife".

The entire chapter is a mother giving good advice to a son on choosing a good wife. It offers a theme which connects our readings. A good wife uses her gifts for her husband and children as a means of serving the Lord. In fact, and understandably so, it is often used in Wedding Liturgies.

Similarly, the Responsorial Psalm also praises the good wife by telling the man who walks in the way of the Lord that his wife will be like a fruitful vine and his children like olive shoots. Marriage in the Lord is a holy state, a vocation, a way to follow Jesus Christ and to become a sign of His love for His Bride, the Church. In and through Jesus Christ, Marriage has been raised to the level of a Sacrament a source and sign of grace. When we live it as a response to the call to follow Jesus, it becomes a path to virtue and holiness.

For those who are married, we should ask ourselves, how are we living this Christian vocation? Are we putting our spouse first? Are we offering our gifts in service to the Lord?

In the second reading, the Apostle Paul reminds the Thessalonians that they should live as though the Lord is coming every day. Because He is! And, because He does. Though it may not be His Second and final coming. He is always coming to those who are looking for Him. He comes in and through His Word. He comes in the Holy Eucharist -and in all the Sacraments. He comes through others whom He brings into our life. When we live that way, we will be ready and prepared for His Second coming. How are we doing?

The Todayďż˝ s Gospel text from St. Matthew is his version of the Parable of the Talents. A great man, who was to become a king, gave each of his stewards a measure of money. When he returned, he asked for an accounting of how they used what was entrusted to them.

Our place in this story is that of the stewards. God is our King, and He has given us talents and wealth to see how we shall use them. How do we use what the Lord has entrusted to us? Do we say to ourselves, "This is mine, and I shall spend it on myself alone?" Or do we ask, "How shall I invest this to serve the Lord?" How can I offer it back to the Lord in the service of others?

If we squander our talents on useless things, on vanity and the things of this world, we will be deprived when are called to account, like the foolish servant. We will lose everything we have. But if we invest and return our talents, with profit to the Lord, we shall be given even more. The Gospel for today has these sobering words coming from the Lord" For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away." ( Matt 25:29)

There is nothing wrong with possessing the goods of the earth, as long as we understand we are stewards, and these goods are entrusted to us for a time. We have a duty to use them wisely, to multiply them, for the greater glory of the Lord, and to allow Him to work through us by giving all that we have to Him. In the twelfth chapter of Lukeďż˝ s Gospel, we read these words from Jesus "Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more. (Luke 12: 39-48)

Today, we should ask ourselves two important questions. First - what has been entrusted to me? Then, a follow up question - what am I doing with it? Now canonized Saint John Henry Cardinal Newman penned a beautiful prayer often titled "I have a Mission". It is a reminder that no matter where we are in life, even amid what may seem to be our deepest struggle, we are still called, chosen and equipped for His mission. We are the ones who have been given much. It has been entrusted to us. Now, much more is required.

Let me lead us in praying it: "Oh My God, you have created me do some definite service. You have committed some work to me that you have not committed to another. I have my mission; I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. I will trust you, whatever, wherever I am. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve you. If I am in perplexity, my perplexity may serve you.

"If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve you. You do nothing in vain. You know what you are about. Though friends be taken away, though I feel desolate, though my spirits sink, though my future is hidden from me, yet I will trust you, for you know what you are about. I ask not so much to see as to be used: through Christ our Lord. Amen."

Have a Blessed Lords Day,

Deacon Keith Fournier

Deacon Keith Fournier, JD, MTS, MPhil

Dean of Catholic Online School

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