Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wednesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

(II Maccabees 7:1.20-31; Luke 19:11-28)

A proverb states life is God’s gift to us and what we make of our life is our gift to God.  The proverb may not be biblical, but it does encapsulate Jesus’ parable in today’s gospel.

Context is emphasized here.  Jesus is mounting the heights of Jerusalem.  He has just awarded Zacchaeus for sharing his fortune with the poor.  Now he signals blessings for those who use their resources for the glory of God.  Is he saying that individuals earn salvation by their good deeds?  As odious as the concept may be to some, in a sense Jesus is saying just that.  But the gold coin must also be taken into account.  It is the grace by which one can act.  It comes from the sacrifice Jesus is about to make on Calvary.

We cannot win salvation for ourselves because it is a gift from God.  But God does not belittle human freedom.  Rather he enables us to perform meritorious works.  When we bring food to shut-ins in July, not so much with the holidays approaching when everyone wants to feel good about themselves, we secure our place in God’s kingdom.