The refrain from today’s Responsorial Psalm calls “blessed” those who fear the Lord. In other languages such as Latin there are two words for “fear.” One is terror, which means “fright”; the other is timor, which means “reverential fear” or “profound respect.” There is a passage in Sirach 1:14 which states: “The beginning of wisdom is to fear the Lord.” Wise persons are blessed because they reverence God as Lord; they obey his commands; they strive to be virtuous. The wise know that they are responsible to God for their actions and that salvation comes from God alone.
The approaching end of the liturgical year reminds us to consider the end of earthly life. Today’s Second Reading and Gospel remind us to live wisely, recalling that salvation cannot be found in the present moment. The servant who buried his master’s money in the ground was not looking ahead to his master’s return and the consequences of his failure to act prudently. Paul warns those who are experiencing “peace and security,” but who are unprepared for the inevitable end of earthly existence. Such people are blind; they are living in darkness. Those who live by the light of faith have the foresight to look beyond the present moment. They know that they are created for heaven, but they cannot get there on their own. They look to God for help and they know that they must render an account of their stewardship to him as Lord. So they invest the gifts he has entrusted to them: the virtues, grace, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the guidance of his word. They have reverence for themselves and their neighbors as children of God. They long to hear the Lord’s words on the day of judgment: “Well done, my good and faithful servant…Come, share your master’s joy.”
The “worthy wife” in today’s First Reading is praised for fearing (timens) the Lord. This is the foundation of her industrious prosperity. Could not this “worthy wife” be the “Bride of Christ,” the Church? Therefore she, like the industrious servants in today’s Gospel, represents all of us as members of the Church. Even where we as individuals may fail, “Holy Mother Church” is bound to succeed. As members of her household we enjoy the fruit of her works—the sacraments, catechesis and evangelization, the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. At the same time we are obliged to contribute to the prosperity of her household by participating actively in the life of the Church. Like the “worthy wife,” the Church not only cares for those within her household, but also “reaches out her hands to the poor and extends her arms to the needy.” May we reflect the industrious charity of our Holy Mother and show ourselves to be her faithful sons and daughters.
Pray the rosary again this week for the souls in purgatory. Pray for military personnel, especially those from our area; and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.