Fr Richard's words for today, 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time and the World Day for the Poor
Capitalise on Faith
The servant who buries the only talent the Master gives him can be compared to a Christian who buries the gift of Faith. When that great gift is given to us at Baptism, the Lord waits with great anticipation to see fruits emanate from it. If we grow in Faith, God bestows on us other talents enabling us to serve Him and our neighbour with Christ's love. Someone, however, who rejects this gift of relationship with God risks receiving the same terrifying fate as the wicked servant.
Rather, we should follow the example of the servants who are given two and five talents. By taking every opportunity to increase our Faith in Christ, we'll find that the Lord gives us more talents; gives us the strength to serve Him in ways we never imagined we could. None more so is this evident than by the graces God gives when we receive a vocation.
There are some aspects of pastoral ministry as a priest that I never would have dreamt I could do before Ordination. It's only by the grace of the Sacrament of Holy Orders that, merely as an instrument of Christ the Priest, I can perform certain tasks. I'm sure those who've received the Sacrament of Matrimony can say something similar. If, in faith, we commit to the vocation God has called us to - then He gives us graces of the Holy Spirit to do things we could simply have never done by our own efforts. Think of the strength given to a mum and dad of a severely disabled child to care for them night and day. Or think of the physical and spiritual fortitude bestowed upon Pope Francis making it possible for him to be the Vicar of Christ on earth, with all the responsibilities that brings, at the age of 83. If we commit our life to the Lord in prayer and service - then He gives the graces we need to bear fruit for the sake of the Kingdom.
A life invested in the gift of Faith produces the fruit of love. Works of charity are a particular focus of today - the World Day of the Poor. It is by constantly gazing upon the face of Christ, born in the poverty of a stable, that we are prompted to "stretch out our hand" to those most in need, the theme of the World Day this year. By cultivating the gift of Faith, we can become the tireless servants the Lord asks us to be in our attention to the poor.
I hope and pray that when you and I face our particular judgement, the Lord will see the fruits of our Faith and say to us too: "well done, good and faithful servant...come and join in your master’s happiness.”