As the liturgical year winds to an end, we are reminded about the truths of the judgment that is to come. As the feast of Christ the King draws near, may He reign supreme in our lives and would that the petty kingdoms of our human fabrication dissolve as we assume more and more fully our citizenship into the heavenly kingdom that lasts forever. For this we need more than a healthy dollop of fear of the Lord, or wisdom, two sides of the same coin. The book of Sirach has much to say on the subject and we’ll be dipping into it some. Blessed indeed are Those Who Fear the Lord.
Talents On Loan from God
Today’s gospel has the Parable of Talents. A man entrusts his possessions to his servants, each receives gifts according to their ability. Immediately, two trade and double their holdings, but the third, “out of fear,” buries the talent in the ground. On his return, the good and faithful are commended and invited to share in their master’s joy. The wicked and lazy one is shorn of his hoard and thrust into the outer darkness. This serves as a reminder to employ our gifts for the sake of the kingdom.
“And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Mt 25:46
Faithful in Little Things
The good servants are praised by their Master for being faithful in little things. This underscores the importance of integrity. Our God seems to take great delight in hidden, unsung acts lovingly performed and will reward the humble. The wicked, lazy servant chose to do his will rather than that of his master. He wasn’t faithful at all, in fact, he was grossly negligent in fulfilling his duties.
The worthy wife is celebrated in the reading from Proverbs – for her self-sacrificial love of husband, family, and the poor. So beautifully put in the Collect for Mass:
Grant us the constant gladness of being devoted to you, for it is full and lasting happiness to serve the author of all that is good.
Fear Of the Lord Is Wisdom
The first reading from Proverbs and Psalm 128 extols the benefits of Fear of the Lord, so exploration of this last gift of the Holy Spirit will prove a profitable exercise. What exactly is Fear of the LORD?
Chapter 1 of the Book of Sirach references Fear of the Lord no fewer than 12 times and Wisdom 7 times and the author does this to show the relationship between the two.
If you desire wisdom, keep the commandments, and the Lord will bestow her upon you; For the fear of the Lord is wisdom and discipline; faithfulness and humility are his delight Sir 1: 26-27
Fear of the Lord impels us to return the love of God and strive not to offend Him. Paradoxically, it means that we need fear only ourselves; it is our fallen nature that can sever our relationship with Him through mortal sin. God is loving, merciful, and gracious. We aren’t fit to approach His throne of judgement; it is only the filial love of a son or daughter that enables us to approach His throne with trustful confidence.
Let us entrust our minds and wills to God, enthroning him in our hearts (which implies dethroning any current monarch) and may His grace enable us to slough off all traces of sin from our lives until we are counted among His good and faithful ones. By our holiness, we can help the Kingdom of Heaven break into the World today!
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as in heaven. Mt 6:10