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The gift of Faith ...

Entrance Antiphon: Ps 74(73):20, 19, 22, 23 — “Look to Your covenant. O Lord, and forget not the life of Your poor ones for ever. Arise, O God, and defend Your cause, and forget not the cries of those who seek You.”

First Reading: Wis 18:6-9 — “Just as You punished our adversaries, You glorified us whom You had summoned”

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 33:1, 12, 18-19, 20-22 — “Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be His own.”

Second Reading: Heb 11:1-2, 8-19 — “Abraham looked forward to the city whose architect and maker is God.”

Alleluia: Mt 24:42a, 44 — “Alleluia, alleluia. Stay awake and be ready! For you do not know on what day the Son of Man will come. Alleluia, alleluia.”

Gospel: Lk 12:32-48 — “You also must be prepared.”

Communion Antiphon: Ps 147:12, 14 — “O Jerusalem, glorify the Lord, who gives you your fill of finest wheat.”

Two beautiful flowers, one bright yellow and the other bright blue, grew together in a garden. The two flowers basked in the adulation they received from the sun and various animals. One day, the yellow flower began to make pollen.

“You shouldn’t be doin’ that,” said the blue flower. “It will make you old before your time.”

The yellow flower did not heed the warning but continued to make her pollen. The next day, the blue flower was complimented by the sky, but the sun said nothing to the yellow flower, which seemed a bit withered and worn.

“What did I tell you?” said the blue flower. “You must spend all your time making yourself beautiful or no one in the future will care about you.”

Several days later, a young man spied the blue flower and picked it. "This must come to my house,” he said.

“What did I tell you?” said the blue flower. “Now I will adorn this man’s house while you sit in the hot sun and wilt.”

In time, when the man was finished with the blue flower, he discarded it. The flower was no longer. In time, when nature had finished with the yellow flower, there was a whole field of yellow blossoms.

This story illustrates the difference between those who prepare and those who rest comfortably without a care in the world. It also contrasts how people respond to the abundance God has given us. This weekend’s readings challenge us to consider our response to what God does for us.

Jesus challenges His listeners to be prepared and to use well the gifts they have been given. The Lord tells His disciples that they must be ready for any eventuality. To prepare for whatever may come, they must take the time now to use wisely the things they have been given. In the story, both the blue and yellow flowers had an equal opportunity. Both were beautiful, and both had the choice to do what was necessary to prepare for the future. The blue flower was lazy and used poorly the opportunities given her. In the end, she lost everything. The yellow flower, however, realized she had been given a lot and wished to preserve her gifts for the future. Thus, she worked, used her gifts, and created a whole field of yellow blossoms. Her reward was great. Jesus in the Gospel says so clearly: “When much is given, much will be required. More will be asked of the one to whom more is given.”

Jesus asks us to exercise our potential, be prepared for what may come, and use our gifts wisely. We have received many wonderful gifts, but ask yourselves this: Have we exercised our potential with what we have been given?

One of the gifts God has given us is the gift of faith. This great gift challenges us, as we hear in the Letter to the Hebrews, to have confident assurance concerning the things we hope for and the convictions we hold about what we cannot see.

Ask yourselves: Have we exercised our faith’s full potential? When our faith is tested, do we give into temptation? Do we give up when the situation looks bleak, such as in sickness, or during unemployment, or with problems at home, at work, or in school? Or do we demonstrate our faith and trust God as many famous biblical figures did? Do we share our gift of faith with those not as privileged as we are?

We have all been given many talents – in the classroom as students and teachers, on the athletic field as players and coaches, in the arts as musicians or painters, in the working world in our chosen fields ... whether that be as skilled tradesmen, or as physicians, engineers, architects, or whatever our vocation. How would we answer Jesus when he says, “More is expected of the one to whom more is given”? Do we show gratitude to God by giving back some of what we have been given? Are we exercising our full potential? Both the Creed we will soon profess and today’s Gospel leave no doubt: When we die, we will have to account for every moment of our lives. What did we do with the gifts we were given? What did we fail to do? Will our lives reflect what Saint John Paul II called the civilization of love or the culture of death? Those are questions only you yourselves can answer!

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