What is a Talent?

33rd Sunday in Ordinary time Perhaps the most common understanding of the word talent is a certain ability or gift that God has given each one of us. Yet we should be careful to remember that what a talent means in the ancient Biblical sense is different to how we understand it today.  A talent in ancient times was a measurement of something weighty, like silver or Gold.  Thus to the ancient reader, the use of the word talent would instantly bring to mind something heavy. But more than this, to the mind of a Jew, the heaviness of a
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You do not know either the day or the hour

    This Sunday’s Gospel presents us with the parable of the Ten Maidens (Matthew 25:1-13).  The parable centres on a Jewish marital custom whereby, after the period of betrothal, the groom would lead a procession to bring his new wife to their home, and they would celebrate a week-long banquet with family and friends.  In the parable, the bridegroom arrives to begin the joyous procession and take his wife to the marriage feast.  The foolish maidens who were unprepared and without oil are excluded from the celebration while the wise maidens participate fully.  The parable emphasises the need for
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Love of God and Love of Neighbour

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time   In this Sunday’s Gospel (Matthew 22:34-40), Jesus quotes from the Book of Deuteronomy (6:4-5); ‘You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might’.  Next He quotes from the Book of Leviticus (19:18); ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’  Unlike any other who has gone before Him, Jesus places the twofold commandment side by side, and insists that true love of God must be enfleshed in the love of our neighbour.  He went on to say that all the Scriptures ‘hang on’ these
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The Two Kingdoms

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time   The Pharisees and Herodians were effective at designing trick questions, the ones that to whichever answer Jesus gave, would be wrong. Jesus finds himself in this situation in our Gospel again today. If he answered that it was unlawful to pay taxes to Caesar, then he would have been in a great deal of trouble with the Romans. Yet if he answered that taxes should be paid to Caesar it would contradict the idea that God was sovereign over all things. But Jesus gives a brilliant answer by making a distinction between two different
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Many are invited, few are chosen

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time This Sunday’s Gospel Passage (Matt 22:1-10) presents us with another parable.  In the parable a King invites people to the wedding feast of his son.  When the king came in to meet the guests, he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment.  The king, rather harshly, asks his attendants to “bind the man’s hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”  Jesus goes on to say:  “Many are invited, but few are chosen”.  The man represents the sinner who wants to
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Be persistent with Prayer

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A   “O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer!” – These were the words of a 19th century Presbyterian pastor, reminding us of what we are missing out on when we do not pray. Continually we are faced with difficulties, worries and concerns. Continually we hold onto them and try to process them ourselves and without the help of God. But as our second reading reminds us, the peace of God will always come to us when we
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Parable of the Two Sons

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time Jesus presents us with the parable of the two sons (Matthew. 21:28-32): one, when invited to work in the vineyard, says ‘No’ but later thought the better of it and goes, and another who says ‘Yes’ but did not go. The son who did not go used the words, “Certainly Sir”.  ‘Sir’, is a word which is also translated as ‘Lord’ (Kyrie).  Jesus reinforces what he said in an earlier episode: “…it is not everyone who says, Lord, Lord, who does the will of the Father (Matthew. 7:21) ”.   Others who have said ‘No’ to
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Death Has Loss Its Sting…

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time   The second reading for this Sunday is somewhat of a paradox – as Saint Paul writes, “For to me life is Christ, and death is gain.” Generally most people don’t think of death as gain. But this phrase used by Paul shows that thanks to Christ, everything we do here on earth is unified to what happens to us after death. For Pagan religions back then, death was considered ‘the great destroyer’, and whilst they did believe in some form of after-life, it was meaningless and joyless. But in Christianity, Christ broke down that
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If you have not warned the wicked man, then I will hold you responsible for his death.

23rd Sunday in Ordinary TIme   Our reading from Ezekiel this week contains some rather heavy language pertaining to sin and death. Not only does it remind us of the seriousness of sin, but also of our responsibility in helping others to avoid it. This can be a difficult task. No-one really likes to approach people to question or challenge their behaviour – in our Gospel it takes at least two people. But rest-assured if we pray to have the persons best interests at heart, then they will come to understand it not as a personal attack but rather as
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Take up Your Cross and Follow Me….

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time It is very interesting to see how we as a community of believers can, at times, lose our Catholic culture and consciousness.  There was a time, when the majority of Catholics would instinctively know that we use the Crucifix in our liturgical celebrations rather than an ‘empty’ cross.  Thus there was a time when our liturgical documents loosely used the word ‘cross’ even when referring to the ‘crucifix’, taking it for granted that Catholics would know.  Furthermore, in the Latin version of the documents, the word ‘crux’, which literally means ‘cross’, was used also to
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