Grace Cathedral

Grace Cathedral

Article | November 17, 2017

Lectionary Reflection: The Twenty Fourth Sunday After Pentecost

Blog|The Rev. Justin White

Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18; Psalm 90:1-8, (9-11), 12; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Matthew 25:14-30

Today’s Scriptures are full of ominous warnings, urging us to be prepared for “the Day of the Lord.” The prophet Zephaniah launches an excoriating attack on the indolence and complacency of the wealthy in Jerusalem. The prophet’s message challenges all of us not to let our wealth and comfort diminish our sense of dependence on God, or our preparedness for God’s “Day.”

Paul is in full agreement with the prophet, that the Day of the Lord is a terrifying prospect for those who “live in darkness”; those who are not preparing themselves for God’s realm in humility and service of others. Yet he reassures us that we are “children of light”, called to arm ourselves with nothing but faith, hope and love, as we prepare for that day; a day that, however difficult, will ultimately be a day of salvation.

The parable of the talents is troubling at many levels, not least the closing assertion that “to all those who have, more will be given … but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.” This sounds like a rather good description of current global economic systems! The parable is often interpreted as a call for us to make good use of our “talents”, but some have suggested that it might be a critique of unfair, exploitative practice. Must we assume that the “Master” in the parable is God? Might he be that “harsh man, reaping where he did not sow, and gathering where he did not scatter seed”?

This reflection was written by the cathedral’s former Canon Precentor, The Rev. Justin White.

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