Healing at St Michael’s
November 16, 2017
Mercy in the Old Testament
November 17, 2017

33rd Sunday OT (A)

Maximise your gifts and talents

As a friend of mine would say, we can use the Word of God in every aspect of our lives and today’s Gospel is applicable to so many of us.

Jesus shows us that the Kingdom of heaven is like a man on his way abroad, who summoned his servants and entrusted his property to them. And he gave talents to each one according to his or her ability. Then he set out. While he was gone, each one doubled their talents, except for one.

The servant given one talent did nothing with it, because he heard that the Master was a hard man, reaping where he had not sown and gathering where he had not scattered; he became afraid and hid his talent in the ground.

God in His wisdom, already knew the heart and mind of this servant, hence He gave him only one talent, as compared to the others, who got more. Instead of appreciating his one talent, he listened to gossip about his Master, and fear came into his heart.

Many of us are afraid of success, of launching out into the deep, and putting our trust in God. We listen to the fears and rumours, the subtle lies of the Evil One, and because of our innate laziness, we choose the path of failure and the comfort of doing nothing.

How many times have we come across persons, who have real potential, and we try to encourage them but they make a million and one excuses as to why they cannot do anything: they don’t have the money, right now they are focusing on…, it is someone else’s fault, they have to move into a better place first, and on and on. They live in a dependency mindset, waiting for someone else to do for them.

Ten years later, you meet them again or hear about them and they are still in the same place, contented to bury their talent in the ground and continue as they are, living a narrow, unfulfilled and miserable life, as this servant in the today’s Gospel.

What a better Trinidad and Tobago we would have if more of us were to use our resources, gifts and talents for building up our country, our institutions, and our churches! We cry out daily about who is not doing what, whether it be the government, archdiocese, school, the corporate sector – but what are they, aren’t they made up of us?

We are the institutions; we are the government; we are the Church. The question is, what are we doing? Many of us too, have the dependency syndrome, hoping that we will continue to get without really giving. We prefer to practise corruption, crime, nepotism and all manner of getting ahead, without working for it.

I believe that the well-known quote by the late US President John F Kennedy, many years ago, is so important: “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” Having lived there for many years, I am always amazed at the dearth of volunteerism, philanthropy, and generosity in every sector of the society: people do; people give. You could have seen this spirit of cooperation in the city of Houston, Texas, during and particularly after the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey. People used their boats, businesses,  churches, to help, unasked.

The Gospel said that the Master entrusted His property to His servant, and left.  Similarly, God created the earth for us and left, and told us to manage it in His absence. Let us stop calling on God to do this and do that for us, or asking others to do for us, what we can do for ourselves.

Let us cut out the dependency syndrome. We are well able in Christ Jesus, for His grace is sufficient! When we do need the help in carrying out His work, He will send the help, the strength, the courage, the wisdom, the knowledge, to do what He has asked.

Let us not bury our great gifts or talents that He has given us in the ground, or hide it under the bushel, but rather let our light shine, so that when others see it, they will give glory to our Father in Heaven. So, at the end of our lives, God will say what he told those servants who multiplied their talents, Well done good and faithful servant; you have shown that you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your Masters happiness.

The Gospel reflections for November are by Jemma Allong-Redman, founder of A Way of Living in Christ International, a spiritual support group for adults; the artistic director of the Southern Christian Drama Ministry, and a television co-host. She is a parishioner of St Peters RC Church, Pointe-a-Pierre, and St Mary Magdalene RC Church, Houston, Texas.