TALENTS TO BUILD THE KINGDOM
SUNDAY, THIRTY THIRD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
(WORLD DAY OF THE POOR)
Reading 1: Prov 31:10-13,19-20,30-31 By worldly standards the woman mentioned in this reading would hardly be classified as a talented person. Yet according to the writer she has something far more precious than jewels, namely, a loving heart and caring hands.
Reading 2: 1 Thes 5:1-6 Paul tells his friends that he doesn’t know when the Lord will come back. Therefore, he urges them to be always ready lest they be caught unawares.
Gospel: Mt 25:14-30 This contains the story of three men who got some money from their master, and how two of them used it well, whereas the third failed to make any use of it at all.
Today’s Gospel has the simple yet rich parable of the talents. Whatever the monetary value of the Roman silver or gold talents might have been, we must try to understand the meaning of ‘talent’ in a broader setting and the holistic meaning of the parable in the common run of our lives.
A wealthy house-holder, before setting out on a long journey, summons some of his servants and distributes talents among them – five, two, one – “to each according to his ability.” Every human person, even as he comes into the world, is endowed with innumerable aptitudes, abilities and potencies, of body and mind. He is invited through today’s Gospel passage to develop, perfect, exploit and harvest his talents in whatever way he can, for the service of God and neighbour.
Education is a rich source of opportunities for developing talents. Talents are not restricted to individuals alone; families too are talented, some in the area of music and singing, others in technology, while there are those exceptionally gifted in handiworks of different kinds.
The first reading is taken from the Book of Proverbs. Many of these proverbs may have been in circulation even a thousand years before the coming of Christ. Solomon, so famous for his wisdom, may have been the author of a good numbers of sayings in this collection. Today’s text is from Chapter 31. The theme of this chapter is mainly the description of a good wife. She contributes so much, for the happiness of the husband and the home. She is a hard-working person who, with loving hands, sees to the well-being of all. She is an expert in stitching and weaving, and makes fitting clothes for her husband so that he appears respectable before people. She does not neglect the poor and needy.
Biblical love is not the same as worldly love. Worldly love is determined by feelings and circumstances. It is easily fired up or burned out depending on one’s emotions. But true love, Godly love, is endlessly patient and kind. And a good wife demonstrates this kind of love to her husband, even when he doesn’t deserve it. “Charm is deceptive and beauty, fleeting. The woman who fears the Lord, is to be praised.”
In the Books of Kings and Chronicles, we read of experts: skilled labourers, carpenters, masons and builders, who use their talents for the construction, first of the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle, and then, of the Temple. David himself was a very talented soldier and warrior. He is said to have fought with lions and bears. And we know the accurate aim with which he struck the giant Philistine, Goliath, in the forehead with a pebble. David was also a musician and a dancer, a composer of psalms and a lyricist. St Peter and his companions were fishermen on the Lake of Galilee, and were constantly developing their skills at fishing; and then, they were transformed into fishers of men, and that too required training, working and harvesting their God-given talents in the service of their supernatural vocation.
There are natural talents and supernatural talents. Of very high value among the natural talents, are intelligence and will. The greatest of all God’s gifts is the Holy Spirit and his grace and charisms. In fact, the wealth of one person in the state of grace is worth more than the whole of natural creation, because grace is a participation in the divine nature. All the saints devoted themselves to the growth and blossoming of the life of grace.
In today’s Gospel, we read: “To him who has, more will be given; from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” One may wonder how anything can be taken away from him who has not. Let us bear in mind that having all the gifts and talents of nature, is equivalent to having nothing, if one does not have faith, hope and charity. Paul, in talking of Christ’s coming on the Day of Judgement in the second reading, reminds us of the account we shall have to give for our talents. Let us then use our talents coupled with faith, hope and charity to build a spiritual kingdom, where they may grow many times.
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 128:1-5 Blessed are all who fear the Lord.
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