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15th November 2020

posted 13 Nov 2020, 02:37 by Church Office   [ updated 13 Nov 2020, 02:39 ]

Second Sunday before Advent

As we move towards Advent our readings take on a more urgent tone: they can feel quite bleak (but the world around us not exactly a bed of roses at present) but they also contain grounds for hope.  The prophet Zephaniah lambasts the people for believing that all their blessings are the result of their own efforts and are not a gift from God.  He warns that judgment is coming and no amount of worldly security and comfort will protect the people.  Matthew’s parable is also about judgment: the servants are judged according to the use to which they have put the gifts entrusted to them.  Yet both readings emphasis God’s extraordinary generosity, the abundance of blessings and riches that are at our disposal:  even the servant who is entrusted with the smallest amount is given a fortune. The promise in both readings is that when we use our gifts, creatively, generously, liberally, then abundance will multiply.  Whoever we are, the greatest or the smallest, God can and will use us. 


Readings

Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18

Be silent before the Lord God! For the day of the Lord is at hand; the Lord has prepared a sacrifice, he has consecrated his guests.


At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the people who rest complacently on their dregs, those who say in their hearts, “The Lord will not do good, nor will he do harm.” Their wealth shall be plundered,  and their houses laid waste. Though they build houses, they shall not inhabit them; though they plant vineyards, they shall not drink wine from them.

 

The great day of the Lord is near, near and hastening fast; the sound of the day of the Lord is bitter, the warrior cries aloud there.


That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the lofty battlements. 


I will bring such distress upon people that they shall walk like the blind; because they have sinned against the Lordtheir blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung. 


Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the Lord’s wrath; in the fire of his passion the whole earth shall be consumed; for a full, a terrible end he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth.

 

Matthew 5:14-30 

"For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’  His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’


Collect

Heavenly Lord,

you long for the world's salvation;

stir us from apathy,

restrain us from excess

and revive in us new hope

that all creation will one day be healed

in Jesus Christ our Lord

Amen



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