Reflection of Bishop Enrique Díaz: “May the day of the Lord not surprise you like a thief”
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Bishop Enrique Díaz Díaz shares with the readers of Exaudi his reflection on the Gospel for this Sunday, 19 November 2023, entitled: “May the day of the Lord not surprise you like a thief”.
Proverbs 31, 10-13. 19-20. 30-31: “He works with his skilful hands”
Psalm 127: “Blessed is the one who fears the Lord”
I Thessalonians 5, 1-6: “May the day of the Lord not overtake you like a thief”.
Matthew 25, 14-30: “Because you have been faithful in things of little value, go in and share in the joy of your Lord”.
Parables that touch the heart, parables that become topical, and parables that leave us with deep reflections, such as “The Parable of the Talents” Could we make an update of this parable? Let us make an attempt. Much has been said about the great riches of our homeland: the precious metals that lie in its entrails; the enormous mountain ranges embellished by thousands of trees; the abundance of its lakes and rivers with a large water supply and the prodigy of the jungles full of charm and beauty. Kilometres and kilometres of dream beaches are not only precious but of incalculable wealth. But, as the cruel jokes say, to care for, protect and grow these treasures, the “Mexican” has been put in place, and he has come to destroy all the wealth. It is a hard truth, and we see our beautiful and fertile territory being transformed into an immense desert that advances and kills life; water, once abundant, is now scarce; and minerals, instead of producing wealth, poison peoples and produce divisions; and abundant wealth is unfairly distributed creating millions of starving people and privileged lit swimming in abundance. No, I do not believe that God has created those who are responsible for being stupid, not lacking in intelligence, but with too much ambition and too little sense of brotherhood. The great talents that God has given us, we have not only hidden and left them unfulfilled, we have corrupted them and turned them into a source of inequality, marginalisation and poverty.
Our country also has enormous potential in human values that are wasted and have not been used. How sad to find wandering our streets the strong and intelligent youth wasting their time and efforts, reduced to the sadly called “ninis” because they find no opportunity either to study, to work, or to develop their stupendous qualities. The wealth of our families, the precious pearl of our society, now crumbling and wasting away, struck by individualism, commercialism, and a hedonism that destroys all humanitarian sense. Children and adolescents spend hours and hours in their classrooms, but learn very little about the values of life, the love of truth, and the pursuit of justice. They end up lacking in basic knowledge and empty of values.
The potential of the media, radio, mobile, internet, or television, which have an extraordinary power to educate, to teach, to bring about a true rest and appreciation of life, and which have become a string of stupid, insipid, and mediocre programs resorting to lurid scenes or foul language in order to attract more clients. A vicious circle: the public gets whatever it wants, but first we teach it to ask for crap. We could say that the great sin that is stifling us is the sin of omission: we have many qualities, we have enough space, but we do not act with honesty and responsibility.
Right now the new candidates for elected office are being presented and many are asking themselves: what have our authorities done to build a just Mexico, in peace and harmony? Where have the good intentions and campaign promises gone? The indifference and apathy with which many citizens look at the elections is not gratuitous. The talents that the people, or that the Lord, have placed in their hands have not been produced. They have cowardly hidden the treasures and let the talents rot. Out of fear, apathy or ambition, and then they have the same excuses to excuse the clumsy management. Always blaming others or circumstances, always appearing clean. It is enough to review the campaign speeches to realize that there is a lot of wealth that others have squandered and that the new aspirants promise to transform into life, only to present the same results in a few years’ time.
But not only the civil authorities, all of us who have some responsibility towards the community, towards the family, towards groups, have wasted opportunities and have become paralyzed with fear. Parents do not dare to propose true ideals to their children and prefer to follow the sheepishness that the system proposes; teachers do not take the risk of forming true citizens; workers and trade union leaders prefer their substantial profits to true justice; pastors and priests do not take the risk of presenting the Kingdom in all its truth and are content with a few sleepy faithful. It is the sin of cowardice, of omission, of passivism, which is stifling us and preventing us from bearing true fruit.
Too much pessimism? Jesus always has words of hope and presents us in his parable not one, but two servants who have had the intelligence, the commitment and the daring to risk everything. Who have committed themselves and who have been able to produce. Two out of three is a great percentage, I don’t know if we could aspire to so much today, but what I am sure of is that there are disciples of Jesus who do not flinch and who give their lives in the search for the Kingdom, that there are leaders who assume their role with all dignity and give themselves at the risk of their own lives, that there are small and perhaps unknown protagonists who are sowing seeds of hope at this very moment. Jesus is more optimistic than we are and that is why He presents us with such good dividends, but He is aware that the temptation is there lurking for us to continue with our passivity and indifference. Today Jesus wants us to make the talents he has given us produce, he does not care how much or how little, he cares about the love, honesty and service we put into our work. How do we respond to Jesus? Are we making our personal, community, ecclesial and national talents produce? Are we making excuses to stop producing?
Grant us, Lord, your help to give ourselves faithfully to your service, for only in the fulfilment of your will can we find true happiness, through Christ, our Lord. Amen.