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November 17, 2002

"Well done, my good and faithful servant. Come, share my joy."

(Matthew 25:14-30)

Reading this Gospel reminded me of a friend of mine, Sr. Chris Mulready who died several years ago from cancer. She was a very lively, outgoing person, who worked in two big parishes in Long Island, New York, and was very involved in many good causes, including the struggle to abolition the death penalty and nuclear weapons. Just before she died, she said to me, "John, I figured out the meaning of life!"

I said, "Really?!"

She said, "When you're a child and a teenager, you serve. When you are in your twenties and beginning life and starting a family, you serve. When you are in your thirties and forties, you serve. When you are middle age, you serve. When you are in your sixties and seventies and starting to retire, you serve. When you move into your eighties and start to slow down, you serve. When you get sick, you serve. When you are dying, you serve. On your last day, as you die, you serve."

We are called to spend our lives in loving service of God and one another.

These past few weeks, we have been reading the conclusion of Matthew's Gospel. All of this is leading up to next week's great feast of Christ the King, where we will hear the parable of the last judgment, when Jesus says, "What you do to the least of these, you do to me." Then, the new liturgical year will begin as we start the season of Advent.

The best line in today's parable is "Well done, my good and faithful servant. Come share your master's joy." I think that is a beautiful image of God, and I like to think that is where we are all headed, to that great moment when we meet God and God says, "Well done my good and faithful servant; come, share my joy."

So this week, the Gospel invites us to reflect on our lives as servants of God.

Are we using our talents and gifts primarily, first and foremost, to serve God and one another and the whole human race?

Are we doing everything we can to do God's will?

What more can we do to serve God and one another and humanity?

Where do we need to change and grow so that we can fulfill our primary life mission to be a "good and faithful servant" of God?

As servants of God, we try to do what God wants, which means not doing what we want, but rather selflessly serving others, loving everyone, helping everyone, working to create a community of faith and love here and helping to make our world a better place, free of war and injustice.

This week, the Gospel invites us to make God happy, to serve God throughout our lives, so that it will be easy for God to say to each one of us, on that great day, "Well done, my good and faithful servant. Come, share my joy."

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