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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Using our talents

"To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one-- to each according to his ability." Mt 25:15

That everyone has a talent is probably self evident to most of us, and oftentimes we are very grateful for the talents of a friend who can tweak a computer, fix a faucet or sit with us when we are lost.  While the talent might not seem very important to them, when we are in need, the talents of generous friends are a precious gifts. 

What is not self evident, however, is that our talents, in a gospel context, are not for ourselves.  Each of us has been gifted by God for the sake of others.  We are part of a community, we are the body of Christ, and as a community of faith we can only be ourselves and function well when all the parts are playing their proper role.  We do not need a hand to be a foot, or an ear to be a mouth.  We need each part of the body to be itself for the good of the whole.

Yesterday, I had the great privilege of celebrating the 50th wedding anniversary of my sister and brother in law.  It was a glorious day in every way.  It was cool but sunny; almost everyone my sister and brother in law invited were able to be there, and the liturgy was beautiful, powerful and inviting.  My sister and brother in law are people of faith and vital members of their parish community.  Now that their days of raising children are over, they spend their considerable talents for the good of their parish and local church.  My brother in law and sister know that the talents they have been given are for the good of all. To hoard their talents would never occur to them.  Though neither of them came from families of means, they learned very early in their lives that life was only joyous when you shared whatever you were given with others. 

The gospel today reminds us that there is no reason to fear.  God is with us, will protect us and demands that we give away our talents no matter anxious we might be about having enough for ourselves.  Some reading the gospel today are people with multiple talents.  If, however, they use those talents only to satisfy their own needs for power or security, they condemn themselves.  While Jesus uses the person with one talent, who buries it for fear he will lose it, to challenge us to go beyond our fears, all of us, no matter how poor or wealthy, must guard against greed. Not only our property and our money, but our ideas, our creativity, our lives only make sense in a gospel setting when they are handed over for the good of all people and all nations.  It is in this way that we witness to the power of Christ living in us and continue to build the Kingdom of God.

Today, rejoice in your talent. Then give it away to whomever needs it.

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