33rd Wednesday in Ordinary Time
2 Maccabees 7: 1, 20 – 31; Ps 17; Luke 19: 11 – 28
Just as the nobleman, before making his journey to obtain kingship, entrusted to his servants gold coins to trade with, so Jesus, in the time between His Ascension and return, entrusted his servants, us, with a sum, you might say, not a sum of money rather something much more precious. The Lord entrusts us with His gift of grace, the life of the Trinity.
Just as the nobleman-become-king, had a reckoning with his servants, so the Lord Jesus will demand an account of how we have responded to His gift of divine life. We are reminded: “The gift you have received, give as a gift!”
The third servant, who received the gold coin and stored it in his handkerchief, is a clear lesson that what we receive from God is not be to hidden away, kept as a kind of trophy, given back in time just as we received it.
In the life of a disciple, in our lives, there can be no complacent possession, no holding, without putting what we have to work. Anyone, blessed by God, who merely wants to cling to what is had and supposedly keep it in peace, will lose even that. The graces of faith, of hope, of charity are entrusted to us for our growth as disciples of the Lord.
In the reading from the Book of Maccabees, the mother of the seven sons, standing before the ferocious tyrant, Antiochus, saw her sons, mutilated, tortured to death and, having been entrusted with the gifts of faith and hope, did not, could not allow this madman to take away what God had given her. To the nonbeliever, her actions, her steadfastness could be judged as an equal madness.
A famous quote comes to mind: “For those who have faith no explanation is necessary; for those without faith, no explanation is possible!”
In the words of the author of Maccabees, this mother is “most admirable and worthy of everlasting remembrance… filled with a noble spirit” – clearly the Spirit of God. A terrible challenge was thrust upon her but she knew what God had given her and, with a strength far, far greater than any ruler, she rose to the occasion and, in reality, triumphed, as did her seven sons.
May we, also entrusted with our God’s gift of grace, put it to work with grateful hearts because that which we receive, that which is entrusted to us, as His own sons and daughters, is not a something, rather it is God Himself.