As we enter the final two weeks of the liturgical year, many of the readings discuss the final judgment and our readiness for that event. The fact that Jesus hasn’t returned in 2000 years leads many of us to believe that He won’t return in our lifetime. One thing that we often forget is that many of us will be meeting Him in less than 30 years! In addition to the “general judgment” when Christ will return at the end of the world (and our bodies are reunited with our souls), the Church teaches that each of us are judged immediately after our death. This is known as the “particular judgment”. At this time it is decided whether we will spend eternity in Heaven (possibly by way of Purgatory) or Hell.
Today’s Gospel reading (Matthew 25:14-15,19-21) tells the story of the servants and the talents. It is clear that the message Jesus is relating is that we are going to be judged by how well we used the “talents” that were given to us. If we were to die tonight (and be judged), do we feel confident that the Lord will say to us, “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“? If not, why not pledge tomorrow to start using your talents to advance the Kingdom of God?
Even if it’s just a kind word, a smile (when you may not feel like it), asking someone how they are doing (and really listening to their response), being extra patient with a co-worker or your spouse. Maybe it will be doing something like volunteering to help out with a ministry at Church or visiting the elderly. The important thing is that we look at the unique talents that God has given us and determine through prayer how we can best use them to serve the Lord. As we do more of this, we will be better prepared when “the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2).