33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Ages 3-6): Into the Joy
(Adults, there are two versions of the Gospel for this Sunday. I have provided the shorter version here. You could begin by reading the Gospel aloud to the child. Alternatively, you could read the first paragraph of the reflection to the child, then read the Gospel, and then continue with the reflection.)
In the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus tells another parable. We know that Jesus wants us to know more about the Kingdom of God so we listen closely to his parables to think about what Jesus might mean. The parable for this Sunday is about a man who is the master of people. I think if we listen carefully to what the Master does, we might begin to know what Jesus means.
“For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability.
The Master is going away somewhere. Before he goes, what does he do? He gives something to each of the people who work for him. Jesus calls these things "talents." In the Holy Bible, talents are like gold--so very precious. Even just one talent would be more than enough to buy everything we need. The Master gives so many talents to the people before he goes on ahead of them.
What can we say about how the Master gives?
He gives his people everything they need, and then even more.
Later, the Master says,
For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance
He has already given them so much, and then he promises even more! He gives them an abundance. We know that abundance means enough and even more than enough. The Master gives abundantly.
So what can Jesus mean? Who could the Master be like? Do we know anyone else who gives abundantly?
When Jesus tells us that he is the Good Shepherd, he says,
I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10:10b)
The Good Shepherd gives abundantly to the sheep! Enough life and even more than enough life.
What do sheep need for life?
To be safe?
To be loved?
I wonder, when Jesus says the Master gives an abundance to the people, if he is thinking of these same things that the Good Shepherd gives the sheep?
What do the people do when they receive so much from the Master? Listen to what one of the people says:
Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’
The person has used the gifts. He has enjoyed them. And what has happened? He finds that he has even more gifts! The abundance keeps growing!
And what about the sheep of the Good Shepherd? What do the sheep do, when they receive so much from him? Do they just walk away?
the sheep follow him because they know his voice.
They know him. They know how good he is. They enjoy his abundance. They will follow him wherever he goes.
But where are they going?
In the parable today, we are told where they are going. The Master says,
‘enter into the joy of your master.’
That's where they are all going!
Into the joy.
If you were to draw a picture of joy, what colour would you choose?