Saturday, September 02, 2006

Saturday in the 21st Week of Ordinary Time (II)
God’s Choice

Readings: 1 Corinthians 1:26-31; Psalm 32; Matthew 25:14-30

We are invited today to meditate more deeply upon God’s choice. Why and how does God choose us? And how does this divine purpose come to fruition?

The psalm starts us off by reminding us of God’s purpose. God chooses God’s people in order to rescue their souls from death, to keep them alive in famine. God chooses in order to save. Although the gospel parable speaks in terms of a master’s relationship with his servants -- and we are, indeed, all called to serve God -- God chooses not so much as a potential employer might choose domestic help from a bio-data file. God is not simply on the lookout for tireless and efficient laborers. Rather God’s choice might perhaps be likened more to that of one who visits death-row in order to grant clemency to prisoners. God chooses in order to save.

And God chooses by blessing us with gifts – the talents in the gospel parable. Does it mean then that those who are wealthier or more intelligent, more popular or more talented, are more blessed, more chosen, than those who are less so? No. As Paul tells the Corinthians: it was to shame the wise that God chose what is foolish by human reckoning, and to shame what is strong that he chose what is weak by human reckoning; those whom the world thinks common and contemptible are the ones that God has chosen – those who are nothing at all to show up those who are everything. In other words, we need to have a correct understanding of God’s giving. More than any material wealth or natural talent, God gives us God’s very self by sending us God’s Son. As Paul explains, God chooses us in Christ who has become our wisdom, and our virtue, and our holiness, and our freedom. And it is only in Christ that we better understand the saving significance of God’s gifts – how they may be used to fulfill God’s purpose of salvation. Our gifts – including our material possessions and natural talents – are entrusted to us neither to be buried nor to be exploited solely for our own selfish purposes, but so that they may be used for the benefit of others, to bring others to God, to further God’s saving plan both in breadth and depth. And it is only to the extent that we use our gifts in this way that we can truly benefit from them in Christ. For to everyone who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough; but from the man who has not, even what he has will be taken away. Or, as St. Francis of Assisi put it so beautifully: It is in giving that we receive. It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

How is God choosing us today? What are the talents with which we being blessed? How are we being called to respond?

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