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To: All

From: 1 Thessalonians 4:9-11

Charity and Good Use of Time


[9] But concerning love of the brethren you have no need to have any one write to
you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another; [10] and in-
deed you do love all the brethren throughout Macedonia. But we exhort you, breth-
ren, to do so more and more, [11] to aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs,
and to work with your hands, as we charged you; [12] so that you may command
the respect of outsiders, and be dependent on nobody.

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Commentary:

9-10. “The greatest commandment of the law is to love God with one’s whole
heart and one’s neighbor as oneself (cf. Mt 22:37-40). Christ has made this love
of neighbor his personal commandment and has enriched it with a new meaning
when he willed himself, along with his brothers, to be the object of this charity,
saying, ‘When you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me’
(Mt. 25:40). In assuming human nature he has united to himself all mankind in a
supernatural solidarity which makes of it one single family. He has made charity
the distinguishing mark of his disciples, in the words: ‘By this all men will know
that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another’ (Jn 13:35). In the early
days the Church linked the ‘agape’ to the eucharistic supper, and by so doing
showed itself as one body around Christ united by the bond of charity. So too, in
all ages, love is its characteristic mark” (Vatican II, “Apostolicam Actuositatem”,
8). Love for the other members of the Church is fraternal love, a love which bro-
thers and sisters should have for one another, for the Church is one large family.
The Thessalonians practised this love not only among themselves but also with
the other believers living in Macedonia; fraternal charity is absolutely necessary
for the unity of Christians.

“No tongue can tell the heights to which love uplifts us”, St Clement of Rome
teaches. “Love unites us to God; love casts a veil over innumerable sins; there
are no limits to love’s endurance, no end to its patience. There is nothing base,
nothing proud, about love [...] It was in love that all God’s chosen ones were
made perfect. Without love nothing is pleasing to God” (”Letter to the Corin-
thians”, 1, 49).

11-12. Everyone has certain obligations connected with his position in life which
he should conscientiously fulfill. They include, particularly, duties to do with work
and family, and they provide us with an opportunity for conversation with God. St
John Chrysostom teaches, for example: “A woman working in the kitchen or do-
ing some sewing can always raise her thoughts to heaven and fervently invoke
the Lord. If someone is on the way to market or is traveling alone, he can easily
pray attentively. Someone else who is in his wine-cellar, engaged in stitching
wine skins, is free enough to raise his heart to the Master” (”Fifth Homily on An-
na”, 4, 6).

Work is something of immense human and supernatural value, for it is a means
readily at hand for personal sanctification and cooperation with others. It would
be unworthy of a Christian to live an idle life and expect to be supported by the
charity of others. St Paul counsels everyone who can to look after his family and
“be dependent on nobody”. And so we find the following in one of the very earli-
est Christian documents: “If someone wants to settle down among you, and is
a skilled worker, let him find employment and earn his bread. If he knows no
trade, use your discretion to make sure that he does not live in idleness on the
strength of being a Christian. If he does not want to work, he is only trying to ex-
ploit Christ. Be on your guard against people of that sort” (”Didache”, 12). So, a
person cannot be regarded as a good Christian if he does not try to work well, for
“our professional vocation is an essential and inseparable part of our condition as
Christians. Our Lord wants you to be holy in the place where you are, in the job
you have chosen” (St. J. Escriva, “Friends of God”, 60).

In addition to promoting personal sanctification and cooperation with others, work
gives the Christian a share in Christ’s work of Redemption. “Sweat and toil, which
work necessarily involves in the present condition of the human race, present the
Christian and everyone who is called to follow Christ with the possibility of sha-
ring lovingly in the work that Christ came to do (cf. Jn 17:4). This work of salva-
tion came about through suffering and death on a Cross. By enduring the toil of
work in union with Christ crucified for us, man in a way collaborates with the Son
of God for the redemption of humanity. He shows himself a true disciple of Christ
by carrying the cross in his turn every day (cf. Lk 9:23) in the activity that he is
called upon to perform” (Bl. John Paul , “Laborem Exercens”, 27).

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Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


14 posted on 08/27/2011 9:22:13 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Matthew 25:14-30

The Parable of the Talents


(Jesus said to His disciples,) [14] “For it will be as when a man going on a jour-
ney called his servants and entrusted to them his property; [15] to one he gave
five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then
he went away. [16] He who had received the five talents went at once and traded
with them; and he made five talents more. [17] So also, he who had the two ta-
lents made two talents more. [18] But he who had received the one talent went
and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.

[19] Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled ac-
counts with them. [20] And he who received the five talents came forward, brin-
ging five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I
have made five talents more.’ [21] His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and
faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter
into the joy of your master.’ [22] And he also who had the two talents came for-
ward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two ta-
lents more.’ [23] His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant;
you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of
your master.’ [24] He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying,
‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathe-
ring where you did not winnow; [25] so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent
in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ [26] But his master answered him,
‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed,
and gather where I have not winnowed? [27] Then you ought to have invested my
money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my
own with interest. [28] So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has the
ten talents. [29] For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have
abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. [30]
And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and
gnash their teeth.’”

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Commentary:

14-30. A talent was not any kind of coin but a measure of value worth about fifty
kilos (one hundred pounds) of silver.

In this parable the main message is the need to respond to grace by making a
genuine effort right through one’s life. All the gifts of nature and grace which God
has given us should yield a profit. It does not matter how many gifts we have re-
ceived; what matters is our generosity in putting them to good use.

A person’s Christian calling should not lie hidden and barren: it should be out-
going, apostolic and self-sacrificial. “Don’t lose your effectiveness; instead, tram-
ple on your selfishness. You think your life is for yourself? Your life is for God,
for the good of all men, though your love for our Lord. Your buried talent, dig it
up again! Make it yield” (St. J. Escriva, “Friends of God”, 47).

An ordinary Christian cannot fail to notice that Jesus chose to outline his tea-
ching on response to grace by using the simile of men at work. Here we have a
reminder that the Christian normally lives out his vocation in the context of ordi-
nary, everyday affairs. “There is just one life, made of flesh and spirit. And it is
this life which has to become, in both soul and body, holy and filled with God.
We discover the invisible God in the most visible and material things. There is
no other way. Either we learn to find our Lord in ordinary, everyday life, or else
we shall never find Him” (St. J. Escriva, “Conversations”, 114).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


15 posted on 08/27/2011 9:25:17 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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