November 16, 2014

The Gospel Today

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 25: 14-15, 19-21

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.

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.'”

Reflection (Sem. Enrico Terrel):
 
          When we are trusted, we are given responsibilities. When we are given responsibilities, we are expected for accountabilities. When we are called to account for what we are responsible for, what will be determined is how good or bad we are as steward of our master’s trust.

          In the Gospel narrative, we see an image of God as a master entrusting to his three servants some of his possessions which are termed as ‘talents’. According to the New American Bible commentary, a talent was a unit of coinage of high but varying value depending on its metal (i.e. gold, silver, copper) and its place of origin. In today’s common understanding, talent pertains to money. Despite the varying amount that each servant receives for investment, the truth remains clear that each one is accountable to the master for the manner of using the money. Those who made good use of the money are rewarded with the master’s joy, that is the Kingdom of God. While those who are so over cautious that they just safeguarded what was given to them are punished with the confiscation of their money and banished into the darkness.

          Our life is a gift from God. It brings with it more gifts particularly the combination of intelligence and skills that make us unique. On the spiritual side, we are also gifted with certain virtues like faith, hope and love. God’s gifts may also come in the form of responsibilities that are given to us like our work in the office, our duties in our homes and our ministries in the Church. Given these presents, it is good to ask ourselves: how do we see and make use of our gifts? Do we recognize how gifted we are or do we ignore it? If we recognize it, do we make good use about it or do we just keep it idle? If we are using it, does it only benefit us or do we share these gifts with others?

          I remember the time when I was entrusted by my parish priest with the gift of ministry as coordinator of our parish youth commission. At first, I would like to ask my parish priest as to why he chose me when I believed that there were more competent people who can handle such role. However, it was a grace from God that I no longer had a dialogue with him. Instead, I just reflected on the insight that he might have seen something in me that made me fit for the role. Moreover, I just realized that God might have been working through the actions of my parish priest. I just accepted the responsibility wholeheartedly and I embraced the challenges that go along with it. Definitely, there were tough moments like proceeding to a parish pastoral council meeting right after working eight hours in the office or encouraging more young people to be active in serving in the church and in the youth commission. However, I also noticed some good yield in myself such as the appreciation of my ministry and my growing love for the members of my commission as I regarded them as my brothers and sisters. I also noticed some growth in the youth commission namely the development of programs which led to the increase of active leaders and members. The growth did not happen without the grace of God. I was happy for being able to respond to His trust.

          God is very loving that He is so generous in giving us gifts and graces even though we are undeserving due to our weaknesses and sins. Despite the many times that we have failed to take good care of His trust, may we never stop in asking for His mercy and for the renewal of His confidence in us. What matters is that we do not give up on ourselves because God will never give up on us. We do not give in to our fears that make us avoid risks thus stopping us from using our resources wisely, honing our skills, developing our virtues through good habits and facing our responsibilities with a strong fighting heart. Let us ask the Lord for the necessary strength, courage, wisdom and determination that we may capitalize on our new opportunities.

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