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Dating My Way Into Heaven

November 15, 2020   Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Lectionary: 157)

When one finds a worthy wife,
her value is far beyond pearls.
Her husband, entrusting his heart to her,
has an unfailing prize.
She brings him good, and not evil,
all the days of her life.
She obtains wool and flax
and works with loving hands.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her fingers ply the spindle.
She reaches out her hands to the poor,
and extends her arms to the needy.
Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting;
the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her a reward for her labors,
and let her works praise her at the city gates.

Responsorial Psalm    Ps128:1-2, 3, 4-5 

R. (cf. 1a) Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Blessed are you who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
blessed shall you be, and favored.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the recesses of your home;
Your children like olive plants
around your table.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Behold, thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
The LORD bless you from Zion:
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.

Reading 2   1 THES 5:1-6

Concerning times and seasons, brothers and sisters,
you have no need for anything to be written to you. 
For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come
like a thief at night.
When people are saying, "Peace and security,"
then sudden disaster comes upon them,
like labor pains upon a pregnant woman,
and they will not escape.

But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness,
for that day to overtake you like a thief. 
For all of you are children of the light
and children of the day.
We are not of the night or of darkness. 
Therefore, let us not sleep as the rest do,
but let us stay alert and sober.

Alleluia   JN 15:4A, 5B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Remain in me as I remain in you, says the Lord.
Whoever remains in me bears much fruit.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel   MT 25:14-30 

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
"A man going on a journey
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one--
to each according to his ability. 
Then he went away.
Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,
and made another five.
Likewise, the one who received two made another two. 
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground
and buried his master's money.

"After a long time
the master of those servants came back
and settled accounts with them.
The one who had received five talents came forward
bringing the additional five. 
He said, 'Master, you gave me five talents. 
See, I have made five more.’
His master said to him, '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.’
Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said,
'Master, you gave me two talents. 
See, I have made two more.'
His master said to him, '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.’
Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, 
'Master, I knew you were a demanding person,
harvesting where you did not plant
and gathering where you did not scatter;
so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. 
Here it is back.'
His master said to him in reply, 'You wicked, lazy servant!
So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant
and gather where I did not scatter? 
Should you not then have put my money in the bank
so that I could have got it back with interest on my return? 
Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. 
For to everyone who has,
more will be given and he will grow rich;
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.'"

Or 

Mt 25:14-15, 19-21

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
"A man going on a journey
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one--
to each according to his ability. 
Then he went away.

"After a long time
the master of those servants came back
and settled accounts with them. 
The one who had received five talents came forward
bringing the additional five. 
He said, 'Master, you gave me five talents.
See, I have made five more.'
His master said to him, '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.'"

By Nick Sciarappa

“Nick Sciarappa: Single, Suave, and Delicious” read 1000 business cards. It was my freshman year of college, and I was ready to date. Though unconventional, I thought business cards with my name and number on them would be a creative way to ask people out on dates. Servers at restaurants, cashiers at drive throughs, tour guides at the local zoo, strangers in line at the supermarket, and various other people received a card asking to go on a date with me. My close friends were skeptical, calling me crazy for such a strategy. But you know what? People said yes. 

In my four years of college I went on dozens of dates with a variety of people. On some dates I felt immediate chemistry, and on others I felt distant. Some dates were exciting, others dull.

One thing was certain: Dates came with a story to tell.

After some time, what started as a plethora of exciting excursions ended up with a recurring blandness. “Fun,” as my number one priority felt lacking. “Thrill,” was not a priority. Attraction was nice, but not totally fulfilling. That’s about the time when I met my wife. 

Riley and I met at a distillery on a blind date. After a few hours of conversation we both recognized that there were elements of chemistry and attraction between us. This girl was awesome, but there was more to this story. 

Though I try to keep things fun and light on the first date, we started talking about faith. We were both Catholic: Riley a missionary, and me, a youth minister. The more she talked about her relationship with God, the more I knew that Riley would never love a person as much as she loved God. For Riley, it seemed like dating was only worth it if the person she was with could lead her closer to her true love, God the father.

Her priority and fulfillment was God, and finding a spouse was secondary. 

Date two came with a fancy dinner followed by praying with few people living on the streets. Date three came with Mass and a tour of her mission campus. The more we did together, the more I realized that my relationship with God grew deeper; not out of co-dependence, but out of leading each other to heaven, one exciting date at a time. I found intimacy in praying with someone I really cared about.

Riley is the woman I have entrusted my heart to, because she fears the Lord; Not with a subservient fear, but in a joyful obedience to a God who loves her deeply. The closer we grow to God, the more we fall in love. She is the girl who made me ditch the business cards for a story that will hopefully one day end up with us in heaven.  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Nick Sciarappa is the Director of Youth Ministry at Sts. John and Paul Parish in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. He’s worked for the church in many capacities including as a journalist at the National Catholic Reporter, and as the digital Media Strategist for the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Nick produces “Clerically Speaking” a podcast where two Catholic priests talk about the priestly life that you don’t see at Mass.  Nick is married to his illustrious wife Riley, and thinks she is pretty neat. Follow Nick on Twitter at @pappasciarappa. Tweet something funny at him.

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