From Our Associate Pastor
This “penultimate” Sunday of the liturgical year introduces us fully to the eschatological religious dimension. It instructs us and motivates us to think about the last things in life, those that we almost never want to talk about. The gospel of Matthew (25:14-30) shows us, as the evangelist has understood it, a parable of “parousia” about the coming of the Lord.
The Greek word that supports this concept is not directly biblical, but is taken from Hellenism where it meant the “visit” or “presence” of the king in a city. If a king or a great leader visited a city, great works were done for the occasion. Festivals with praise and sacrifices were prepared in the temples. This was called “parousia.” And, it even comes to symbolize a new era for the city or for the province or territory. Christians took it from there, without a doubt, since it appears very little in the Old Testament (four times in the Greek Bible of the LXX).
What meaning, then, does parousia have? Reinterpreting everything that the Old Testament and the New Testament suggest to us, we must try to understand that the day of the Lord, the day of the parousia, is not a chronological time period, or a calendar date. It is a new situation that must be accepted by faith and hope in God. It is a concept of excellence in which God’s salvation, announced by the prophets and manifested in the life of Jesus Christ, is a reality with no turning back.
That is why it is not a question of adjusting the day of parousia, or the day of the Lord, or the day of salvation, to a moment, to an hour, to a day, to a year. It is about recognizing God’s action for human beings. And we can even affirm that, from the Christian faith, it means recognizing the action by which God will transform history. Hence we must understand and accept that parousia has begun in the Resurrection of Jesus and will not end until all human beings that exist and will exist will be resurrected like Jesus. And that will be the definitive sign, the day for excellence, in which history, that is God’s creation, will have reached its fullness.
The men who have received the talents must prepare for that coming. How did Jesus’ listeners understand these words? Did you think about the Jewish leaders, the Sadducees, and the Pharisees who did not respond to the project that God had entrusted to them? What meaning does this parable have for us today? As the woman is diligent in the administration of her home, so must the disciple of Christ act in the management of the goods of the Kingdom. Whoever gives a total response in the evangelizing mission according to his or her abilities is assured of entry into the banquet of the Kingdom: enter the joy of your Lord.
Friar Salvador Mejia, OFM
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