Simula na naman ng Misa de Gallo—siyam na araw na paghahanda para sa paggunita ng Pagsilang ng Manunubos ng sangkatauhan mula sa kaalipinan ng pagkakasala. Lahat ay tila ba kumikinang at may kasiyahang dala, mula sa mga dekorasyon na matatanawan sa paligid—ang mga Christmas tree kung saan nagsabit ang mga iba’t ibang kulay na palawit, ang mga kumukuti-kutitap na Christmas lights sa lansangan at mga tahanan, ang mga parol na naglalakihan gawa sa mga nitibong material man o modernong kasangkapan—hanggang sa mga tugtuging pamasko na Oktubre pa lamang ay mauulinigan na. Simula na naman ng Misa de Gallo at saan ma’y mararamdaman ang tinatawag na simoy ng pasko—malamig man ang paligid, nag-aalab pa rin ang kasiyahan at pananabik para sa pinakamahabang pagdiriwang ng mga Pilipino saan mang panig ng mundo—ang kapanganakan ng Mesisyas.
The liturgical year ends today with the celebration of the solemnity of Christ the King. As we celebrate the solemnity of Christ the King, we acknowledge the universal kingship of Jesus Christ and our longing for the full realization of God’s kingdom.
What does it mean to believe in Christ the King?
Kung mapapansin natin, napakaraming mga hari-harian sa ating paligid: kings of great kingdoms, dictators acting as kings, king of the road, king of rock and roll, king of comedies and more. So many kings but immediately we take note that their kingship does not last forever. They are all pretenders of power for only God is powerful.
What kind of king our Lord is?
In contrast to the kingship of this world that conveys: POWER, DOMINION & HONOR, the kingship of Jesus is that of LOVE and SERVICE. He had the power but he used that power to forgive our sins so that we can receive salvation. He was a king who was crucified because of his love for us, his people. Down through history, thousands and millions of subjects have died for their kings, but Jesus is the King who dies for us.
How can we bring about the Kingdom of God?
We can never make the Kingdom of God a reality in us and in the world unless, first, it is a reality in our own lives. Jesus said: “the Kingdom of God is within you”.
We start with faith in Jesus and what he said and did. We give over to him the absolute power in our lives. We make peace, justice and love our primary values. We work at spreading the Kingdom by loving and forgiving and healing. We set aside our desire to be served in favor of serving. We drink the cup of suffering and wash a few feet along the way. After all, our King washed feet.
Put Jesus as our model—a king that reaches hearts and souls in need. Our Lord and King calls us to see the needs of the poor. God’s call is to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless and visit the sick is “24 and 7”; that is, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. And remember: The gospel reading reminds us that whatever “you did not do for one of the least of these least ones, you did not do for me.” Recognize Christ, the King, in every person you meet daily in your life, the underprivileged and the least. If we do these things, we will embrace the kingdom of God that is within each of us.
We can either acknowledge Jesus as King or try to be king ourselves. We can let Jesus heal, forgive, and lead us to love others especially the least of our brothers. Alternatively, we can despair of healing and forgiveness, turn over the kingship in our lives to money or power or other sins, and give those values the absolute dominion in our lives.
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
The gospel readings for the last few Sundays before the end of the Church calendar are intended to keep alive the vigilance of expectation so that Christ doesn't find us indolent and unprepared, and the devil doesn't rob us of the treasures of heaven. These are Sundays when we are reminded that to have faith means to make fruitful the talents that have been placed in our hands: the parable of the wise virgins (last Sunday's gospel) and the parable of the final judgement (I was hungry, thirsty, naked … and you gave me something to eat, something to drink …. which will be next Sunday’s gospel reading), and today’s gospel reading (the parable of the talents). We consider these three Sunday readings as vital in our preparation for the final end.
This Sunday’s parable provides us with a lot of lessons:
a. The parable tells us something about how God deals with us, his disciples and servants. The parable speaks first of the Master's trust in his servants. While he goes away he leaves them with his money to use as they think best. While there were no strings attached, this was obviously a test to see if the Master's workers would be industrious and reliable in their use of the money entrusted to them. The master rewards those who are industrious and faithful and he punishes those who sit by idly and who do nothing with his money.
b. To squander them on triviality, indecency, sensuality and frivolous pursuits is something that we will answer for one day. Our Master, the Lord Jesus Christ is going to return. When He does, he will have us account for how we used or misused our gifts. How are we using our gifts? The gift of music; prophecy; healing; teaching; preaching; love; servanthood, etc.? Is it for His glory or for your own? When He comes back, He will seek an answer.
c. The parable of the talents shows that God abhors indifference and an attitude that says it's not worth trying. God honors those who use their talents and gifts for doing good. Those who are faithful with even a little are entrusted with more! But those who neglect or squander what God has entrusted to them will lose what they have.
d. The Lord entrusts the subjects of his kingdom with gifts and graces and he gives his subjects the freedom to use them as they think best. With each gift and talent, God gives sufficient means (grace and wisdom) for using them in a fitting way. Here is an important lesson for us—no one can stand still, indifferent, unmoved for long in the Christian life. We either get more or we lose what we have. We either advance towards God or we slip back. Do you seek to serve God with the gifts, talents, and graces he has given to you?
e. The servant who buried the master's money was irresponsible. Unfortunately, sometimes we are like the third servant, the one who did not nurture his talent. We remain closed in our own comfort zones. We care too much about our peace of mind and of our routine, our own security. New challenges frighten us. Christ calls us to be his confident disciples that are not afraid of him and his challenges.
May the Lord help us to make good use of the gifts, talents, time, and resources He gave us for His glory and His kingdom.
First, we take note of some important details: The oil in this parable is not just oil. It stands for the sum of good deeds each virgin has accumulated during her lifetime. And the wedding party is not just a wedding party. It is the parable’s way of describing the banquet of the blessed in heaven.
One obvious lesson is that each of us is accountable for our own conduct. Our task in life is to make sure that when the Lord comes to fetch us, we are well stocked with the oil of good deeds. After our death, there will be no second chance. The parable expresses this in 5 simple words: “Then the door was locked.” Jesus concludes his parable with the familiar truth: “You know neither the day nor the hour.”
Here we are reminded clearly that we can never be sure when that end will be. In another gospel passage, Jesus says: “as to the day and the hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, but only my father (Mt 24:36).
Wisdom consists not in knowing WHEN will our end be. The more important thing to ask is HOW are we using the present and WHAT do we hope to accomplish in the days and years that lie ahead.
Could we await the end with confidence, knowing that we have done all we could? Or would we rather feel that there was so much we have left undone, so many faults to atone for, so many omissions to make up for and we would crave for a little more time to put things right?
Our whole eternity depends on our decision to prepare for eternity. We cannot afford to gamble our eternal happiness by ignoring the word of Jesus as he admonishes us today—here and now—to prepare for the day of reckoning.