Cycle A: Thirty-third Sunday of the Liturgical Year



Today, in the parable that was narrated to us, Jesus speaks about laziness. So, I cannot do better than to comment on his words. Don’t think that I am going to give you some arguments to convince your children that laziness is a very bad habit. For the Bible is not a stock of ammunitions to be used against others. So, I will speak about laziness, but our own laziness, yours and mine, not the laziness of those who are not here.

I - In the Bible

In the Bible, the Hebrew word used to speak of laziness means “to stoop.” As you can see, to be lazy, according to the Bible, does not imply that no work is done, but it refers to an attitude, a way of behaving. The Bible says that there are people in the world who always seem to be “worn out, sloppy, tired.” And the book of Proverbs tells us why: “The lazy man says, ‘A lion is outside; in the streets I might be slain.’” (Prov. 22: 13)

1- The learned theologians who interpreted this text will tell you: “It is not true; there is no lion outside. Wild beasts are not found on the streets. These are just excuses that lazy people invent in order not to do anything.” Even though there is no lion on the street, the lazy person truly believes that there is one. And that is why he/she is so lazy and gives that as an excuse not to go out and do any work. This lion is just the fruit of his/her imagination, but the lazy person believes that it is real. He/she is very convinced that there is a lion outside.

This means that laziness is above all a “fear”, a fear of what is outside, a fear of the world. The lazy person is one who is afraid of others, afraid of God, afraid even of himself. So, don’t be surprised to see that he/she is afraid of work, which is one of the most concrete ways in which we come into contact with the world. Don’t be surprised to see that the lazy person cannot really take rest, because he/she is afraid and runs away from everybody.

While a priest was hearing confessions during a youth retreat, a girl came to him and said: “I’ve not been to confession for 13 years.” Then she began to read her confession from a sheet of paper, because she was very nervous and much afraid. The priest told her: “You don’t need to read things like that. Confess only the sins you remember.” She answered: “No. I’ve to read these.” After the penitential service, when the priest was about to return to his parish house, that girl left her peer group and came to him. “Father, you remember me?” she said. – “No. I don’t.” – “I’m the girl who said that she had not been to confession for 13 years. I can tell you that I was prepared to walk out, if ever you had been rude to me. The reason why I have been away for so long is because a priest treated me rudely 13 years ago, and I promised I would never return.”

2- Afraid of others? ... Some priests are afraid of their people. That is why they don’t go to visit them or never consult them for anything. They are branded as lazy priests. Why? ... Because they are afraid. There are also many people who never go to see their priests, because they are afraid of them: afraid that they will be asked a service.

“While the altar is ready, let me make my sacrifice. Let me be the lions’ prey. It is through them that I shall reach God. I am the rough wheat of God, but I must be ground in the lions’ jaws to become pure, white bread of Christ.”

2- The people who are most active in the Church are those who are not afraid of anyone and anything. They have full confidence in Christ. Therefore, they have no fear.

Hervé Morissette csc