Yesterday we heard about different servants in the gospel reading. One servant was responsible and honorable as he awaited the return of his master. By continuing to work hard and maintain his duties, his master returned and was very pleased. The other servant decided to take advantage of the situation and did not continue his work while the master was out. Thus, his master returned to find him acting irresponsibly and disciplined him for it.
Today, we hear about ten women in the gospel reading according to Matthew. Five of the women were prepared for the bridegroom and the wedding feast while five of the women were not prepared and their mistake caused them to be locked out of the wedding feast.
I see a similarity in these readings in that those who were prepared and thoughtful of future events were rewarded and enjoyed the great feast. Those who truly invested in their role with their whole heart and mind gained the appreciation, the gratitude and the gifts of the people they were serving. This is a reassuring message for those of us who are truly dedicating our lives to the glory of God.
How often do we witness others half-heartedly living out their faith? We know people who attend mass on Sundays but forget what they’ve learned by Monday morning. We know Catholics who profess to “agree with the Catholic Church except for….” We know people who do not take their faith seriously. We see these poor examples of faith and what do we do? We allow those things to bother us. We stew in our annoyance, our judgement, and our criticism. Pretty soon, we allow those types of Christians to influence our lives and then we become the church-goers by Sunday but anything else during the week. We begin to question the Catholic Church and the value of Pope Francis. Our own faiths suffer; are we now living a poor example for others?
Yes it can be frustrating to “work so hard” at maintaining a strong faith just to see so many others lack enthusiasm, dedication, and commitment. Often times, we apply 110% effort, we run the extra mile, we volunteer one more hour, and we prepare ourselves extremely well but still, someone else seems to have the better life with much less effort. “Life is so unfair.” Life is unfair and that does happen all the time. The comfort comes in the knowledge that our efforts are not meant to compare ourselves to others. Our efforts are meant to bring us closer to Christ and He knows every sacrifice we make.
Every time we sacrifice sleeping in on Sunday in order to go to mass, God sees. Every time we volunteer to help someone in need instead of enjoy selfish desires, God sees. Every time we turn the TV off to instead pray for our brothers and sisters, God hears. Every time we defend our Christian faith amidst overwhelming criticism and negativity, God hears. Take comfort in the knowledge that what we do for our faith and the sacrifices we make are not for nothing.
Our God is a just and faithful God. We will be rewarded with the heavenly feast for our faith. God is real and He walks with us through our daily lives. We should not be comparing our efforts against others’. If we’re allowing other people to affect and influence our faith in a negative way, we have things we need to be working on ourselves.