33rd Sunday in Ordinary time
1 Thessalonians 5:1-6
As all children know, or learn very quickly, parents are keen to hand on the wisdom they have learned from experience. These life lessons may be pitfalls and mistakes to avoid, values to guide you, attitudes and behaviors that will lead to contentment, success, or the resilience to deal with failure or cope with challenging times. The people of Israel developed their own wisdom tradition and preserved some of it in the book of Proverbs. Its conclusion focuses on the most important decision most men will ever make finding their life partner. Such a wife is a treasure indeed – compassionate, wise, and creatively caring for the family and community.
As Paul and the first Christians waited in those first decades for Jesus’ return, they were given some practical advice that is still valid for us today. For Christians, true wisdom lies in living each day well. In this way whenever the Lord returns, we will be ready to meet him. This theme continues in Jesus’ parable of the master who goes away for some time and entrusts his servants to care for his property. Each servant is entrusted with money from their master according to their ability. Ultimately, they are judged on whether they lived and served to the best of their ability, not according to what someone else could do.
So what wisdom is to be found in these readings? First, to be compassionate and creative with what we have been given. Second, there is no point in comparing ourselves to others since we must be content to work with what we have been given. Third, not letting fear determine our actions so that we miss the opportunities that God offers us every day.
Fr. Chris Monaghan CP, lectures in the New Testament and is President of Yarra Theological Union. He is a member of the Passionist community of Holy Cross in Templestowe.