33RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME: MATTHEW 25: 14-30- TAKE RISKS.
The parable of the talents teaches us that we have been blessed with many gifts and talents. Our challenge is to reflect on how we use and cultivate our gifts and talents. Today, we should ask ourselves: “What kinds of fruits do we have to show in exchange for the blessings and gifts God has entrusted to all of us?” If we do not make use of them and develop our talents, the Lord might take them away and give them to others. We have to deposit our good works, our prayers, our acts of faith, and our generous use of our talents and gifts, and in this way, we are building up our treasures in heaven.
In the parable, we see that the landowner divided his talents between his servants, to each according to his ability. To one servant, he gave five talents; to the second, he gave two; and to the third, he gave one. The important thing to remember is that each servant was given something. No one was excluded from receiving something valuable. No matter how large or small the amount that each one was given, what mattered was how he used his talents! The servant, who had received one talent, buried his talent because he was afraid of his master and afraid of losing his one talent. But, the other two used their money wisely and trusted in their master; they were able to take the initiative and risks in their business. When we are ready to take the “initiative and risks” in our lives, we can achieve and win in our lives!
Recently, I read a meaningful story: They were two seeds laying side by side in the fertile soil. The first seed said, “I want to grow and produce good fruit! So, I want to send my roots deep into the soil and push my buds through the earth’s surface. I want to grow and sprout my tender buds like a sign announcing the arrival of spring. I want to feel the warmth of the sun on my face and the blessing of the morning dewdrops on my petals!” And so, the seed grew and produce good fruit.
The second seed said, “If I send my roots into the ground below, I don’t know what I will encounter in the dark. If I push my roots deep into the hard soil, it may damage my delicate sprouts. What will happen if I am allowed to open my buds and birds try to eat them? No, it is much better for me to wait until everything is safe.” So, the seed waited… One day, a hen was searching for food, found this seed, and ate it! This short story gives us the message is: Those who dream big and think positively will grow and prosper. Those who think negatively and refuse to take any risks and challenges will get swallowed up by life!
Pope Francis spoke about this parable in one of his homilies: “The common usage of the term “talent” indicates the individual qualities of the person, such as in music, sports, arts, etc. But, in this parable, Jesus means that “talent” is God’s grace. The Pope continued by saying, “We should not keep God’s grace locked up in a safe, but we want to use it for the benefit of others. This means all the gifts and talents of mercy, forgiveness, and tenderness that we have received are to be shared with others; and this is the way it grows and bears fruit.
The other thing we notice in the parable: “For 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.” This is very difficult to understand from our human perspective. Here, Jesus was not talking about material things or money but was talking about faith. Even though we have a small amount of faith, if we are not practicing it, we might lose our faith and it will be taken away from us. If we are using our God-given gifts of faith and action, we become stronger and more fully alive.
“God does not promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, or sun without rain. But God does promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way.” Sometimes in our lives, we become disappointed and discouraged but these are like bumps in the road, they may slow us down but we appreciate all the more once we are again driving along on a smooth road. We don’t want to stay on the bumpy road too long… move on with faith and hope. So, instead of burying our gifts and talents, let us acknowledge God’s many blessings to each of us and take the faith-filled risk of using our unique talents and blessings for our betterment and for that of all our ‘brothers and sisters’!