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August 27, 2010

Memorial of St. Augustine

"In his holy name we trust."

Without trust there is no intimacy and very little relationship. Psalm 33 celebrates the trust of the Chosen People. The people God has chosen for his own inheritance is truly a blessed nation. It is from heaven that the LORD looks down upon all mankind, but his gaze of tender mercy is upon those who fear him, upon those who hope for his kindness. They have been delivered from death and preserved in the time of famine. Israel has been rescued again and again; she has countless reasons to trust the LORD at all times. Indeed her soul waits for the LORD, who is her help and her shield. In the Holy Name of the LORD Israel places her trust and in him all hearts rejoice. Saint Paul calls his brothers and sisters in Corinth to boast in the Lord Jesus. Though they seem foolish and insignificant to the powers that be, for them the Lord Jesus has become wisdom from On High. In today's parable the Lord Jesus reveals the joy of those who trust in him and are willing to risk everything for the benefit of the Kingdom. Here we renew our trust in the Lord Jesus who becomes our Daily Bread.

Saint Paul invites his beloved brothers and sisters to consider their call. He points out a socio-economic reality that could apply to many churches even today. Few of us are wise by the standards of our world. Not many of us have a great claim on economic or political power. Probably the number of noble births is even lower today, unless one considers entertainment nobility. God chose the foolish of this world to shame the wise, and He chose the weak of the world to shame the strong. Those considered lowly and despised of this world, those who count for nothing, were chosen to reduce to nothing those who are something. The LORD has done all this to reveal that no human being can boast before God. One bold critic of Mother Teresa of Calcutta claimed that she spent her life manipulating public opinion by using the poorest of the poor to make herself look good. A critic of the critic responded with this challenge, "Just try to live the way she did for one year and see how long you could take it." The truth silenced the lie. Indeed, it is Christ Jesus who is for us true wisdom of God. He is our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption so that we might make our boast in the Lord. This is our calling to reveal the wisdom of God in a life of self-sacrifice and compassion. Indeed, this is our true dignity.

This parable has been so misunderstood. Some claim that the Lord Jesus is trying to assert his love for the rich when he states, "For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away." Such an interpretation ignores the context of the Master's statement. This parable is about the joy of the Master that will enrich the lives of those who trust in him and live according to his teaching. The man who had five talents and the man with two talents trusted in the Master and used what was given to them to build up the Kingdom. The man who had only one talent was afraid and believed that the Master was demanding and harvested where he did not sow. It was his lack of trust that motivated him to bury his talent. Such fear only leads to real poverty. It is trust that leads to true wealth in the Kingdom of God. Indeed, talents are best seen as the gifts of faith that enable us to take risks and invest in life Eternal. It is our faith that makes us truly rich, even though we may be poor, weak and insignificant in the eyes of the world.

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Pax et Gaudium

O.S.B. Vocation Awareness

O.S.B. Vocation Awareness