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Saturday, August 30, 1997

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1 Thessalonians 4:9-12
Psalm 98
Matthew 25:14-30

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the slave trade?

"He called in his servants and handed his funds over to them according to each man's abilities." —Matthew 25:14

Today's Gospel reading is often used to bring up the theme of stewardship, which is supposedly giving our "time, treasures, and talents" to the Lord and His Church. This is a rather tame idea of stewardship compared to the Biblical concept.

First of all, today's Gospel reading is about three slaves, not servants. ("Servants" is a watered-down translation.) Slaves don't just give their time, treasure, and talents to their owners; they give their whole lives and give up their freedom as well.

Moreover, if you don't participate in your parish's stewardship program, should you be thrown into the darkness outside where you can wail and grind your teeth? (Mt 25:30) That would seem excessive, but it makes more sense in the Biblical context of slavery, total commitment, and abandonment of our wills to God.

Maybe we should have "Slavery Sunday" instead of "Stewardship Sunday." "You are the slaves of the one you obey, whether yours is the slavery of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to justice" (Rm 6:16). "Be slaves of Christ the Lord" (Col 3:24).

Prayer:  Father, I will serve You with abandon and not be duped into slavery to the world.

Promise:  "We exhort you to even greater progress." —1 Thes 4:10

Praise:  Each year, Fr. Anthony instructs and baptizes several Muslim converts to the faith. He delights in teaching them about the mercy and love of Jesus.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, February 1, 1997


Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 4, 1997