Wednesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
(II Maccabees 7:1.20-31; Luke 19:11-28)
Author Flannery O’Connor once wrote that she was a Catholic “not like someone else would be a Baptist or a Methodist, but like someone else would be an atheist.” This is to say that she would do more than go to church on Sunday but would invest herself in her religion by defending it and showing how it makes the most sense. Jesus’ parable in today’s gospel exhorts his followers to do something similar.
The parable is as disturbing as it is revealing. Why is the dimwit who doesn’t invest his gold coin treated so roughly? Why are those who did not want the noblemen as their king slaughtered? There are no good answers to these questions because they are irrelevant. As in many other parables Jesus is not advocating that his hearers imitate the examples he makes. Rather he wants them to take note of the situation at hand. The Kingdom of God is breaking into the world. One can either seize the opportunity and be abundantly rewarded or pass it by. There is a third option – to reject the presence of the Kingdom -- which is tantamount to self-destruction.
Catholicism has so much to offer humans not because every Catholic is perfect or even good but because the Church presents the opportunity to know Christ both physically and spiritually. We know him through the saintliness of many fellow travelers, people like Pope Francis. We also know him in the sacraments where he heals and nourishes us. Of course, we know him in the gospels and also in the truths that have been handed down through his apostles and their successors.