Sunday, November 15, 2020

The Twenty-Third Sunday after Trinity

 November 15, 2020

The Twenty-Third Sunday after Trinity

(1 Thessalonians 5:1-6; Matthew 25:14-30)

Once again the Covid-19 virus has shut down houses of worship. Thus, we are back to online only sermons/messages. Please keep St. Francis in your prayers and consider a donation to help keep us alive while bodies are staying away, and God bless you+++!

Today’s Gospel tends to puzzle people. Why would our loving Lord say, “For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” Why would Jesus seem to indicate that the rich will get more rich and the poor more poor, when His words elsewhere seems to not favor the rich? A bit disheartening to hear!

However, we are actually not understanding His parables. If we look at another of His parables (Matthew 13:12), we learn that Jesus may be using wealth in His stories, but wealth is merely a metaphor. In the New Testament – these passages (see Mt 25:29; Mk 4:25; Lk 8:18; 19:26) – use what is considered a use of axiom of practical “wisdom.” The true meaning is that God gives further understanding to one who accepts the revealed mystery; from the one who does not, he will take it away.

So, with that in mind, let us explore a way of putting this explanation to use by using an imaginative storyline.

Imagine there was a treasure hidden a familiar field. Imagine it was worth 100 times the value of everything you owned. And the field was for sale. The asking price was equal to everything you owned. So, you sell everything you have and purchase the field. Quite a deal! The treasure is now yours. How much did it cost you to for the treasure?

You might say that it cost you everything you had, but actually you’ll be wrong. It did not cost you anything. You might respond by saying that you paid for it with everything you had. However, what you actually bought was the field, not the treasure. The treasure was beyond your ability to buy, even with all your possessions. It was, in effect, priceless. But, yet it was free. It just happened to be within the field you actually purchased at a price of one-one hundredth of 100.

The story/example I have just told you was the parable that Jesus gave of a man who buys a field in order to gain the treasure hidden within it (Matthew 13). What do you think the treasure represents? Salvation? Eternal life? The blessings of God?

All of those things would be correct and more. You can never earn or warrant God’s blessings or His salvation or the eternal life He will give. A million years of perfect works couldn’t purchase it. It’s priceless and yet it’s given freely, apart from any work, undeserved, and solely by the grace of God. That’s the treasure. But there’s another side to this story. Though the treasure is free, it causes a man to go out and do everything he can, use everything he has, let go of everything he can let go of, and give everything he can give in response to having found the treasure. Think of cloistered nuns and monks who go behind walls and see the public again for the rest of their lives. They have given all for God, and pay for the treasure!

Salvation is a treasure beyond price and yet given freely to all who freely receive it. But the treasure is so great that if you truly receive it, if you realize what you have, it will lead you to do everything you can, to use everything you have, and give everything you can give in response to having found it. If you’ve truly found this treasure, then it must lead you to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and love others as yourself, to forgive as you’ve been forgiven, to give as you have been given, to make your life a gift of love, and to do all this in joy in light of the treasure that is now come into your life. If you have found the treasure that is beyond price and freely given, then live a life that is of the upmost value and of the greatest worth,  and do so freely. This is the way you possess the priceless.

Now, part of this treasure is the one talent. God is well aware that we humans differ one from another. No two of us will comprehend the same. No two of us will have the same interests. No two of us will have the same drives. No two of us are the same, period. So, from this, we can further understand that God is aware that no two of us can handle the same amount of talents.

We each are given talents of wisdom to help us understand God and His kingdom. If we take this talent of wisdom and learn from it and use it wisely in our lives in seeking God, living His commandments, and loving others, we will double our talents we can offer back to God. God will bless us with more talents – more of His grace. We grow closer to our Creator and become better images of Him, just as we were created to be! And when our time on earth is done, we receive the full treasure of forgiveness and eternal life.

So, are you giving some of your time to God? Are you attempting to take the talents He has given you and increase them with more time spent with Him and His Word? Will you squander your talents, or double them? Let’s double them! Take the Bible off of the bottom shelf of your bookcase, dust it off and thumb through the pages. Time to double those talents!

God Love You +++

++ The Most Rev. Robert Winzens

Pastor – St. Francis Chapel

San Diego, CA

We are beggars – As the epidemic continues (and even increases again) we continue to need your help. The virus keeps people away and thus donations are down, and bills pile up! Please helps, if you can, to keep our ministry alive and vibrant so that there is a place for the those needing respite from a troubled world! God Bless You +++

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