Tag Archives: Accountability

33rd Sunday of the Year: Working, waiting, and accountable to God.

Study: Consider a moment when you were held accountable to a task.  What did it feel like?

Pray: Is there something that needs to be attended to in your life?  Ask the Lord for guidance to carry it out.

Serve:  How can offer support to someone who is working through a challenging task right now?

Mass Readings – 33rd Sunday of the Year

On this last weekend of Ordinary Time we have some interesting readings to consider.

  • 1st Reading – Proverbs offers praiseworthy qualities of a good wife.
  • Psalm – “Blessed are those who fear the Lord.”
  • 2nd Reading – We remain sober and alert in the light of Jesus Christ.
  • Gospel – Jesus tells the parable of the three servants entrusted with different amounts by their master, explaining what happened when the master returned home.

Our faith assures us that the world will one day come to an end.  This is not meant to scare us, but rather to guide us with the knowledge that our lives have meaning and purpose as we prepare in this life for the life to come.  Furthermore, when we die we understand that there will be an accounting of how we lived the precious and holy gift of life.

It’s this notion of being accountable that I suggest as a reflection today.  The Book of Proverbs extols the virtues of a hard working and compassionate wife, reminding the reader that “charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting.”  What lives on are the virtues, prayers, gifts of the Spirit and graces which God pours into our hearts which we share with one another.

And while we know that there will be a Day of Reckoning, we do not know the hour; this insights reminds us to follow St. Paul’s advice to be “sober and alert” each and every day – ready and eager for the Lord’s return.

What’s more, when that day comes, we will be judged with the awareness of our own unique situation.  Like the three servants in the Gospel, we have all been given different talents, opportunities, resources and skills.  It is neither a comparison nor a contest; rather, we will each be judged by how we worked and waited with what God put into our lives.

The invitation today:  Are we prepared for the Lord’s return?  Have we attended to our duties and tasks, or do we have unfinished business?  Are there situations that require our attention and care?  Sooner or later, the Lord will come…may he find us ready and waiting.

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23rd Sunday of the Year – Speaking and Listening

speaking and listening

Study:  When was a time when I failed to speak up?  When was a time I failed to listen?

Pray:  Call upon the Lord for the wisdom to know when to speak and when to take heart to the words of another.

Serve:  Is there someone in my life right now that I am called to speak to?  Or listen to?

23rd Sunday of the Year Readings

Do you remember the Aesop’s fable “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” that we used to hear as children? It is a simple yet profound tale. A young boy is given the responsibility to watch over the animals in the event of an attack from the wolves. Bored of his duties he calls out “Wolf!” and laughs as the area villagers come running.

Delighted with his game the boy cries “Wolf!” a few more times, each time getting the attention of the people. Finally disgusted with his actions they no longer respond, even when a real wolf shows up and attacks the child; his failure to keep watch prevented his message from being heard.

In the first reading today Ezekiel says that being a prophet is a lot like being a watchman. The watchman was responsible for protecting the people from bandits and wild animals. The watchman was required to stay alert, remaining vigilant and ready to call out in a moment’s notice should danger arise.

If danger came, and the watchman failed to alert the people, then the watchman was at fault. But if the watchman called the alarm and no one came, then the people were at fault. Simply put, if the watchman does his duty and no one comes, then those who hear the warning and fail to respond are held accountable.

Likewise, anyone who hears a word of encouragement or guidance and fails to respond is also accountable. Ezekiel, the Psalm, and the Gospel today all point out that there are times when we must open our hearts to messages that we may not want to hear. We may be tempted to “harden our hearts.”

Let’s face it. No one wants to be told what to do. No one wants to be disciplined or chastised; we love our freedom and independence too much for that! Yet there are times when the Church is empowered to keep watch, lest members of the community drift into choices and actions which are harmful and destructive.

This is not easy! The scriptures today alert us to the fact that there are moments when we may be asked to either give or receive a hard word out of love. We might have to give it – to help another from making a mistake. We might have to receive it – and allow another to help us from falling into trouble. Keeping watch is never easy, but without the support of each other, we run the risk of a far greater harm.


26th Sunday of the Year – Road Signs

Road Signs

Study:  In your personal life, what have been some of the best “signs” that have pointed you in the right direction?  Is it a person, an experience, or perhaps an activity?

Pray:  Ask the Lord for the spiritual sight to recognize God’s signs within our daily lives.

Serve:  How might you be a source of direction and guidance for another?  How might your life point the way for another to follow?

26th Sunday Readings

I often am traveling in unfamiliar places.  Unsure of my directions, I am extra careful when it comes to reading the road signs; all it takes is one wrong turn to cause a delay or even greater confusion.

Road signs are important for travel.  They guide us, remind us of our distance and time, reassure us about our direction, and help us reach our destination safely.  These signs make certain that the trip will result in our timely and secure arrival.

We use signs in other parts of our lives as well.  We look for cues from one another in our relationships to show us if we are on good terms with others.  We have progress reports to help us assess how our work is going.  And we often ask for evaluations after programs to determine if the presentation was helpful.  All of these examples show us that signs aid us in living our lives in a healthy and happy fashion.

In the Gospel we hear the familiar story of the rich man and Lazarus.  It is a classic tale about the reversal of fortunes between this world and the next.  Yet the twist in this parable happens when the rich man, from the midst of his suffering, wants to go back and warn his brothers about their impending fate.  Abraham reminds him, “If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.”

This sobering statement reminds us that our choices result in consequences that hold us accountable.  Our words and actions make a difference, for good or evil, and the great power of our choices affects ourselves and others in many ways.

Yet Abraham’s reply can also fill us with hope.  We possess the Scriptures; we know the commandments God offers us.  With these signs we can journey through life aware of our opportunities and responsibilities.  God has given us everything we need to face our joys and sorrows in this world, and with these “road signs” we trust that we will be united with God completely in the eternal world to come.