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Fools for Christ

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Consider your own calling, brothers and sisters.
Not many of you were wise by human standards,
not many were powerful,
not many were of noble birth.
Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise,
and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong,
and God chose the lowly and despised of the world,
those who count for nothing,
to reduce to nothing those who are something,
so that no human being might boast before God.
It is due to him that you are in Christ Jesus,
who became for us wisdom from God,
as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,
so that, as it is written,
Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 33:12-13, 18-19, 20-21

R. (12) Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
From heaven the LORD looks down;
he sees all mankind.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
But see, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield,
For in him our hearts rejoice;
in his holy name we trust.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

Gospel: Matthew 25:14-30

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“A man going on a journey
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one–
to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.
Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,
and made another five.
Likewise, the one who received two made another two.
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground
and buried his master’s money.
After a long time
the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them.
The one who had received five talents
came forward bringing the additional five.
He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents.
See, I have made five more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said,
‘Master, you gave me two talents.
See, I have made two more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said,
‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person,
harvesting where you did not plant
and gathering where you did not scatter;
so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground.
Here it is back.’
His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!
So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant
and gather where I did not scatter?
Should you not then have put my money in the bank
so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?
Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten.
For to everyone who has,
more will be given and he will grow rich;
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’”

NAB

aug 27

Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise,
and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong,
and God chose the lowly and despised of the world,
those who count for nothing,
to reduce to nothing those who are something,
so that no human being might boast before God.

Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.

Encountering this passage always makes me a little uneasy.

Being foolish? Being weak? Being lowly? Not exactly what appears attractive in the eyes of the world. I’m not sure I want to swallow that pill.

But then we take a look at someone like our saint of the day—Saint Monica—who truly accomplished great things in her “foolishness” and we can’t help but be compelled.

She was mother of the famous Saint Augustine. Her constant, unwavering, seemingly futile prayers paved the pathway for his conversion. If you read his “Confessions,” you will realize this was no easy feat! He was on the path of destruction and spiraling further and further off the path of God’s love. It didn’t seem like anything would bring him back. But his mother persevered in prayer, with unwavering faith, and was able to witness his return home.

And what’s little known is that she did this on behalf of her pagan husband and mother-in-law too! Those heartfelt prayers can work miracles in even the most dire of circumstances.

Saint Monica’s piety must have appeared quite foolish and silly to those on the outside, but God worked wonders with what she gave to Him.

I, too, think of Saint Bernadette, Saint Juan Diego, Saint Therese of Lisieux (Doctor of the Church!), Blessed Mother Teresa, Saint Rose of Lima . . . the list goes on. Not exactly powerhouses in the eyes of the world. But powerhouses of holiness in the eyes of God. They were the ones chosen by God to show forth His glory in all the places where we are least likely to see it with our bare eyes.

What great things have been accomplished by God’s little ones!

God can do incredible things with what YOU give Him, too. Boast in Him.

Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility. ~St. Augustine

Pray the powerful Litany of Humility for a booster shot of humility today. And as you go about your day remember this short prayer, the motto of the Jesuits: Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (For the Greater Glory of God)!

photo credit

Laurel Muff is a creator and appreciator of beautiful things. She resides with her husband and daughters in Northern California. You can find more about her here.

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