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(Part 19)


January 30, 2013
Today’s gospel: Mark 4:21-25

All Catholics, by virtue of the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, are empowered to witness. The grace of baptism enables us to grow in holiness, to be saints, and the grace of Confirmation enables us to do mission, to be warriors. Together, we are able to witness, to be martyrs.

But most baptized and confirmed Catholics are not holy and do not participate in the Church’s mission. They have not acted and built upon the grace given to them. Thus they have gone farther and farther away from God. Ultimately they may lose it all. On the other hand, those who have allowed the Spirit that is within them to act have moved on to become saints and mighty warriors for the gospel.

This brings us to the spiritual principle Jesus enunciated. “To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” (v.25). All Catholics, being baptized and confirmed, start off with the same graces. What they then do afterwards will determine whether God’s intent for them will come to pass, or they go in another direction away from God. For those who seek to do God’s will, more graces will come. For those who do not, whatever they have will be lost.

In the parallel passage in Matthew (Mt 13:12), the immediate preceding verse talks about knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. God, being God, is a mystery. His works and ways are a mystery. But there are many revelations (through the Bible and the teachings of the Church), and God gives further understanding to one who accepts the revealed mystery. Such a one grows in knowing God and understanding His ways, thus enabling him to respond even more fully, and the cycle of growth continues, until he becomes a saint. One who does not, on the other hand, continues in darkness and even gets deeper into perdition.

In the parallel passage in Luke (Lk 19:26), the immediate preceding verses are about the parable of the ten gold coins. The servant who invested his gold coin and earned ten additional ones was given another gold coin, while the servant who did not invest his gold coin had that one gold coin taken away. We are to use the talents God gives us in order to further the kingdom of God. We all start off with the same potential, but how we use our gifts determine how much more, or less, God will use us. God is about a mighty work, and those who allow themselves to be His instruments will be used mightily and empowered even more, while those who do not will lose whatever they started with. God’s gifts and graces are to be used for His purposes, and not be trifled with, ignored, or just stored away.

And so Jesus tells us, “Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand?” (v.21). Jesus tells us that we are the light of the world. We should therefore let that light shine forth for all to see. We must witness by our holy lives and by our persistent proclamation of the gospel. “For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible; nothing is secret except to come to light.” (v.22). The hidden, mysterious grace conferred upon us must manifest itself by our works and deeds.

We are empowered to witness. How will you respond? Remember the spiritual principles. You reap what you sow. You grow rich as you give more of yourself. “The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you.” (v.24b).

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