November 12, 2017

Mary Reaches Out to Us: A Reflection for the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

The Parable of the Talents

By Fr. René J. Butler, M.S.

Provincial Superior, La Salette Missionaries of North America

(Proverbs 31:10-31; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6; Matthew 25:14-30)

The last verses of the Book of Proverbs are in praise of the “worthy wife.” Among other things, “She reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy.”

This image reminds me of a bronze statue of Our Lady of La Salette, sculpted by Brother Juan Magro Andrés, M.S., depicting the precise moment when the Weeping Mother lifts her head from her hands, looks up at the two startled children on the hillside, and holds out her hands to them, saying, “Come closer, children, don’t be afraid.”

Mary reached out to them in their poverty and ignorance and, through them, to her People, also materially poor, and seemingly ignorant of the depths of their spiritual poverty.

In today’s parable we have a record of success and failure. Two servants are promoted for their successful investments. The third tries to justify himself, laying the blame on his master’s severity; but he is rightly fired for incompetence.

We are quite willing to take credit for our well-being when all is well. But when life fails to meet our expectations, we are prone to blame. It’s someone else’s fault, even God’s.

At La Salette the Blessed Virgin spoke twice about those who abused the name of her Son—the cart-drivers in general, then the farmers whose potatoes were rotting in the ground. By using the Lord’s name, they were blaming God for their troubles.

Mary tells us to look at ourselves. She speaks words we never like to hear: “It’s your own fault.”

In the message of La Salette, we have a record of failure and need—on two levels, material and spiritual—and a prospect of success and abundance.

The failure of crops was due to blight and bad weather. The failure of the people was on the level of faith. The Beautiful Lady draws the connection between these two kinds of poverty.

In reaching out to us, she offers a solution that we may sum up in the words of today’s Psalm: “Blessed are you who fear (i.e., deeply respect) the Lord, who walk in his ways!... Blessed shall you be, and favored.”

No comments :