Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 15, 2020 — Year A
Readings: Prv 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31 / Ps 128 / 1 Thes 5:1-6 / Mt 25:14-20
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
Last night we celebrated our first youth and children’s Mass here at Holy Name of Mary. I was so happy to see the children that I baptized over the past more than eleven years here at Holy Name, growing not only physically, but also spiritually. It is a joy to see parents and their children with happy faces, worshipping God together here in the best Catholic Church in the town of Bedford, Virginia. They have discovered a “pearl of great price”: their faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Many years ago, long before these children were born, I learned a nursery song with an inspiring message, in the Philippines where I grew up. Since this song is in English and has actually millions of views on YouTube, I thought that at least some of the parents at last night’s Mass might have heard it before. When I asked them, they absolutely had no idea what I was talking about. The lines go something like this: “The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others happy and we will have a little Heaven right here.”
This is not a Christian song, but it truly has a Christian connotation. The Lord Jesus Himself in the Gospel of John said, “I come that you might have life and have it in all its fullness.” That’s another way of saying, I come that you might be happy, in a complete sense of the word. But in times of difficulties like the situation we are all in right now in this pandemic, humans that we are, we find it difficult to see that life is, for the most part, still good.
I have been communicating with my relatives and friends in different parts of the world since the beginning of this pandemic. Yes, we all have the same difficulties. We are all in the same boat. But those who learn to continue to put their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus, Who is the light of the world, can see life in its proper perspective.
In his first letter to the Thessalonians, which we have heard in today’s second reading, the apostle Paul reminds us that we are children of the light, not the darkness. In the parable of the talents in today’s gospel, we ask the Lord our God to use our God-given talents to serve as light to those who are in darkness.
Pope Francis once said, “Nothing in nature lives for itself. The rivers do not drink their own water. The trees do not eat their own fruit. The sun does not shine on itself and flowers do not spread their fragrance for themselves. Living for others is the rule of nature. We are all born to help each other. Life is good when you are happy, but much better when others are happy because of you.” And why is it much better? Because that is the way to everlasting joy. The nursery song I mentioned a few moments ago, puts it in a nutshell: “The way to be happy is to make others happy.”
Let’s pray that we may have the grace and strength to put this into practice, so that at the end of our earthly life, we can hope that Christ the King will say to each and every one of us, “Come inherit the Kingdom prepared for you. For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed Me.”