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 MASS TIMES
 
 
Aren’t All Churches The Same?

Why Catholic – Testimony of Steve Ray

Peter, the Rock, the Keys, and the Chair – Steve Ray

 
 
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WELCOME TO GOD’S ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC AND APOSTOLIC CHURCH!

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Reflection
Jesus in today’s Gospel tells the parable of the three servants and how they dealt with the talents given to them. Perhaps it is just a coincidence that our word “talent,”which means a gift or skill, is used in this story to refer to a very large amount of money. But the connection works for us. As we continue our prayer together today, this may be a good time to reflect on the talents that we have been given and how we have used them in the service of God’s reign.

“We need to be creative”

Despite its apparent simplicity, the parable of the talents has explosive power. Surprisingly, the third servant is condemned without having done anything bad. His only mistake in not doing anything creative: he does not take risks with his talent, and does not get it to bear fruit. He just preserves it intact in its own safe place.

Jesus’ message is a clear “No” to conservatism, “Yes” to creativity. “No” to a sterile life, “Yes” to an active response to God. “No” to an obsession with safety, “Yes” to the effort that tries to transform the world. “No” to a faith buried under conformism, “Yes” to seeking to open up paths to God’s Reign. The great sin of Jesus’ followers is not daring to follow him in a creative way. Just notice the language that has been used among Christians over the years, to see how we have often focused attention on preserving the deposit of faith, preserving our tradition, preserving our good habits, preserving grace, preserving our vocation…

This temptation to conservatism is even stronger in times of religious crisis. It’s easy in such times to invoke the need to control orthodoxy, to strengthen discipline and norms, to keep people within the Church… All this can be justified, but isn’t it all too frequently weakening of the Gospel and freezing the creativity of the Spirit? For religious leaders and those responsible for Christian communities, it seems safer to monotonously ‘repeat’ the inherited ways of the past, ignoring the questions, contradictions, and thinking of people today; but where does all this get us if we aren’t capable of transmitting light and hope to the problems and sufferings that shake the lives of men and women of today?It’s easy in such times to invoke the need to control orthodoxy, to strengthen discipline and norms, to keep people in the Church… All this can be justified, but isn’t it all too frequently a way of weakening the Gospel and freezing the creativity of the Spirit?

For religious leaders and those responsible for Christian communities, it could be safer to monotonously ‘repeat’ the inherited ways of the past, ignoring the questions, contradictions, and thinking of people today; but where does all this get us if we aren’t capable of transmitting light and hope to the problems and sufferings that shake the lives of men and women of today?

The attitudes we need to cultivate today within the Church aren’t called «prudence», «faithfulness to the past», «resignation»… They go rather by other names: «creative searching», «boldness», «risk-taking», «listening to the Spirit», things that make everything new. What happened to the parable’s third servant is a most serious point: we too can think that we are faithfully responding to God with our conservative attitude, when we are actually betraying God’s expectations. The main task of the Church today can’t be to conserve the past, but to learn to communicate the Good News of Jesus in a society shaken by unprecedented socio-cultural changes.   (José Antonio Pagola)
 

Gospel: Matthew 25:14-3​0

“The Parable of the Talents requires us to use our gifts to achieve what God expects from us”
 
Jesus told this parable to his disciples: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who, before going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’

But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”
 

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