Daily Gospel Reflection - Memorial of Saint Monica
Bishop Robert Barron
Memorial of Saint Monica
Gospel: Mt 25:1-13
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.'
*United States Conference of Catholic
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, on this day we remember St. Monica, who prayed persistently for the conversion of her son, St. Augustine of Hippo.
Even though petitionary prayer—asking God for something—seems simpler and more basic than contemplation, it’s more difficult to make sense of theologically. If God is omniscient, what is the point of telling him what you need? And if God cannot change, what is the point of asking him for anything?
The prayer for the liturgy of St. Monica sheds some light on these questions. The text begins as follows: “Lord, you graciously received the tears of Monica for the conversion of her son Augustine.” Mind you, it does not say that the tears of Monica moved God to act or compelled him somehow to change the structure of his providence. But it does say that God accepted those tears in coordination with granting the grace of conversion to her son, implying that God himself was effectively crying through the tears of Monica.
God indeed knows everything about everything, so he is aware of what we need before we ask; but like a good parent, he delights in receiving our tearful requests—even if, like a good parent, he does not always respond the way we would like him to. And God, as the unmoved mover, can never be changed by our prayer; but through whatever is good and right and true in our prayer, God is already praying through us.