Today is the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, a day which Pope Francis dedicated as the World Day of Prayer for the Poor.

Our Gospel today comes from St. Matthew (25:14-30) and is the familiar story of the talents.  As is often the case, a clue for understanding this passage lies in the first line: “A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.”

Do we recognize that all we have is given us by God? And what we have is given us according to our ability.  God has created us in his image and likeness.  Through his Son, we now share in the divine life.  We are redeemed and renewed for the love which we are originally created to share.  These are the true gifts which we have received.  Thus, these are the primary things for which we have responsibility to tend to in this life.

God’s life by definition is fruitful.  Thus, what we have received from God, when properly tended, cultivated and shared, expands and multiplies.  Likewise, when we ignore these gifts, we are diminished.

Board members of Catholic Rural Life

For the past two weeks, my own calling has put me on the road for numerous responsibilities and meetings.  The first stop, I was in St. Paul for board meetings with the Catholic Rural Life Board.  While I was there, I also had the chance to visit with our seminarians and faculty at both St. Paul Theological Seminary, and St. John Vianney College Seminary.  After four and a half years, this was my last meeting as a member of and President of the Board of Catholic Rural Life. I am grateful for this organization, and will continue to keep them in my prayers.

Conclusion of USCCB Plenary Meeting, Baltimore

Last Friday, I flew to Baltimore for our Fall Plenary meeting of the US Bishops Conference.  This year, we celebrated our 100th year as an episcopal conference.  During this visit, not only the full body of Bishops meet, but most of the committee also meet.  These are very full days, but also provide time for some fraternal visits and sharing.

This year there was time for greater input from the bishops, and less time with reports and sharing other information.  We had good conversation about immigration, marriage and catechesis.  Obviously, there were many other items of discussion as well.

On Thursday, I flew to Indianapolis for this year’s NCYC – a national gathering of Catholic youth – which this year attracted nearly 20,000!  As always, it is an enjoyable and encouraging experience to spend time praying and visiting with our young church, while watching them enjoy the opportunity to share their faith with one another.

Finally, yesterday, I made my way to southern Indiana where I will spend time with family through this Thanksgiving week.

Life is full and demanding at times, but as long as we are sharing the gifts of God with one another, we cannot help but find our fulfillment, while at the same time the assurance that we are expanding the Kingdom of God.

Know of my gratitude for each of you, for your faith, and especially your willingness to grow in and expand that faith within your respective realms of influence.