Commentary on the Gospel of

Tamora Whitney - Creighton University's English Department


November 18, 2020


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Wednesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 499

Revelation 4:1-11

Psalm 150:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

Luke 19:11-28

Praying Ordinary Time Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

In today’s Gospel an important man has invested in his servants. He gives them money to care for while he is away. Two of the servants invest the money and can give back more than they were given when their master returns. One servant, afraid of losing the money, kept it in a cloth to protect it and so was able to give the master exactly what he had been entrusted with. The two with a good return on the investment are understandably rewarded. Their master praises their resourcefulness and trusts them with greater responsibility after their good job. The servant who returns his coin intact, however, is not praised. He is reprimanded for not increasing his wealth. The others increased, even doubled the money, and this guy didn’t. He thought he would be praised for not losing the money, but that was the base line. Returning the coins was the least he could do. He didn’t show any initiative. He didn’t go above and beyond. The others took a risk. And their efforts bore fruit. If their investments had not paid off, they might have ended up with less money, or even none of the money they were given. That would be bad. The third servant was afraid of such a situation and chose to take the safer route and preserve the money so he wouldn’t have to explain a potential loss to his boss. If he got in trouble for returning the exact amount, what would have happened if he had lost the money?

And of course we are those servants. What will we do with what God has given us? Will our efforts bear fruit that will last? Will we make the best use of our talents and give back more than we have been given? Preserving our lives is the least we can do. The best we can do is to appreciate and take advantage of what has been entrusted to us. We can use our hearts and minds to give glory to God and to help each other. We should be like the enterprising servants who take a risk, but return even more than they were given. Life is risky and uncertain, but we need to actively do our very best. And we have to act now. We can’t bury our talents. We don’t know when the master will return and when we will be held to account. Will we waste our lives, or use our talents to make a greater return to God?

November 19, 2020

by Luis Rodriguez, S.J.

Creighton University's Jesuit Community

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Thursday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 500

Revelation 5:1-10

Psalm 149:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 9

Luke 9:41-44

Praying Ordinary Time Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Welcoming His Visitation

As we make our way through each day, we desire to see and experience the presence of the Lord with us in the midst of the day and its many activities. We know and believe that the Lord is always present; the challenge is to recognize the ways he is choosing to encounter us.  For a variety of reasons, we can miss the signals, the signs of his presence.  In the words of today’s gospel, we miss the “time of [our] visitation.” 

Today’s passage from the Book of Revelation supplies one possible explanation for our difficulty in welcoming the Lord’s daily visitation. 

The One found worthy to open the scroll is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.  The allusion, from Genesis 49,9, recalls that the messiah was expected to show himself as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, a mighty warrior. Yet, the drama of the scene from Revelation points to the surprising truth that the Lion has become the Lamb, the Lamb slain, put to death, purchasing a people by his Blood. 

Many people in Jesus’ day did not recognize the visitation of God in Jesus, because he did not come with a “roar,” destroying his enemies and creating a kingdom by brute force.  Rather, he appeared in weakness and human frailty and then died in apparent helplessness.  But he is the victorious Lamb, who created a kingdom in his Blood.  St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 2, 8 alludes to this surprising appearance of the Savior and the blindness of those around him: “If they had known the mystery, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory.”  The messiah, a crucified criminal??

Often enough we, too, do not see “the mystery” around us.  The Lord of glory appears in humble circumstances, in the persons of the poor and defenseless around us, in our places of personal poverty, weakness and apparent failure.  We often look for him in places of expected strength and power, according to the world’s standards, missing him where he chooses to show himself in true power. 

Let us ask the Lion who became the Lamb to open our eyes, so that we do not miss the times of his visitation this day.

November 20, 2020

by Mark Latta

Creighton University's School of Dentistry

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Friday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 501

Revelation 10:8-11

Psalm 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131

Luke 19:45-48

Praying Ordinary Time Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

In metaphor, the eating of the scroll by John is a picture of him understanding the intent of Scripture and then applying that learning to experience by faith. Consuming the scroll is indicative of the importance of God’s Word as the Scripture engages the health of our souls. There may be pain in that as transformation may cause pain. We can become complacent and comfortable with certain sins and we may resist God’s plan to change us. We might wince as we reflect and learn that in fact, we are part of the problem and there may be bitterness and anguish in that reflection.

This passage is more about receiving God's Word for life-nourishment that is needed and essential for us to survive and thrive; it is for sustenance and maximizing joy. Why are they bitter? God's ways go deep within us, changing us from the inside out. His teachings encourage and even exhort us to move from our ways to His Way.

The Gospel reading reinforces another facet of John’s experience. Without realizing it, we frequently clutter up our internal space with less important interests and even sinful predispositions and Jesus has to try and drive them out. It’s a great gift to communicate with the Lord and to try and co-operate with him in making space for what really matters in our life. Just as Jesus drives out the money changers in the Temple his fervent wish is to create that same clear space for worship and communion within us.


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