Sunday, November 16, 2014

Today's Mass Readings - November 16, 2014 with Reflection

1ST READING - Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31
10 When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls. 11Her husband, entrusting his heart to her, has an unfailing prize.12 She brings him good, and not evil, all the days of her life. 13 She obtains wool and flax and works with loving hands. 19 She puts her hands to the distaff, and her fingers ply the spindle. 20 She reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy. 30 Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. 31 Give her a reward of her labors, and let her works praise her at the city gates.

P S A L M - Psalm 128:1-2, 3, 4-5
R: Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Blessed are you who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways! For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork; blessed shall you be, and favored. (R) Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the recesses of your home; your children like olive plants around your table. (R) Behold, thus is the man blessed who fears the Lord. The Lord bless you from Zion may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life. (R)

2ND READING - 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6
Concerning times and seasons, brothers and sisters, you have no need for anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night. When people are saying, “Peace and security,” then sudden disaster comes upon them, like labor pains upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness, for that day to overtake you like a thief. For all of you are children of the light and children of the day. We are not of the night or of darkness. Therefore, let us not sleep as the rest do, but let us stay alert and sober.

Remain in me as I remain in you, says the Lord. Whoever remains in me bears much fruit.

Matthew 25:14-30
14 Jesus told his disciples this parable: “A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. 15To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one — to each according to his ability. Then he went away. Immediately 16the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five. 17 Likewise, the one who received two made another two. 18 But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money. 19 After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them. 20 The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ 22 Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I have made two more.’ 23His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ 24 Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; 25 so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’ 26 His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter? 27 Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return? 28 Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. 29 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. 30 And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’”


Some years back, one of the popular posts that made the rounds of cyberspace had to do with the 45th anniversary of the movie, The Sound of Music, and the “reunion” of all those who were principally involved in it. I was one of those captivated by the “then-and-now family picture” of the Von Trapp family with their governess. It instantly brought back happy memories, for I come from the same generation.

       How blessed, indeed, was the Von Trapp family for having such a capable governess. How cute and cuddly everyone looked then, and how far different they look now, 45-plus years hence.

       The First Reading today almost sounds like a recipe for charm and beauty, not just for women but for everyone: man, woman or child. The worthy man, woman or child, according to the Book of Proverbs, brings good, not evil. He or she works with loving hands. He or she reaches out to the poor, and extends his or her arms to the needy.

       But the very same passage from Proverbs goes beyond merely enumerating virtues that would make anyone worthy or blessed. It tells us what it all points to — the foundational virtue that stands at the bottom of it all — the fear of the Lord!

       The charm and beauty that once belonged to the governess and the Von Trapp children, obviously, are no longer there. But why did the whole world get so excited about the aging mainstays of The Sound of Music?

       I would like to hazard a guess. They all portrayed something that never wanes, never goes out of fashion, and never dies. They all collectively portrayed human values galore, goodness of character, and greatness of personality associated with simply being the best that one is called to be. Charm may be deceptive and beauty fleeting, but never the fear of the Lord!

       Maybe it’s time for us to invest rightly and in the right stuff. By starting with the fear of the Lord, one can never go far wrong.Fr. Chito Dimaranan, SDB

REFLECTION QUESTION: Which of the virtues in the First Reading today do you possess or would want to possess?

Help me, Lord, to invest my time and effort in developing the right virtues, the ones that would lead me to You.

St. Margaret of Scotland, pray for us.

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