Prov 31:10-15, 19-20, 30-31; 1Thess 5:1-6; Matt 25:14-30
Some years ago, as mentioned by Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD in his homily, that a Filipino girl who studied in the United States of America (USA) made big news because of her incredible intellectual prowess. Maricel Aragon-Yicks, a relative of the late Pres. Manuel Quezon, finished her grade school in two years. At eight, she graduated from high school and at eleven, she took up, not one but two courses simultaneously – law and medicine. Everybody considered her as extraordinary, a “bionic.”
Fr. San Luis continued to narrate another true story that what was most touching is the story of a Chinese boy who came from a very poor family in Hong Kong never dreamed that would go far. His parents left him behind to do housekeeping job in Australia. Gifted with talents for doing stunts and acrobatics, he developed and cashed in on these until he rose to become a famous movie actor multi-millionaire and Asia superstar. That is Jacky Chan, the Kung Fu kid.
Jesus in today’s gospel parable of the talents tells us a story of a wealthy landowner who was preparing for a long journey. He calls his three servants and divides his money between them, each according to their ability and expects them to administer these. To one servant he gave five talents, meaning a sum of money, to a second two, and to a third one.
You know what, this is surprising because to hear of a man who risks leaving his precious possessions with his servants. The value of one talent is a considerable amount. Not being a mere coin but talent is a weight, in worth depends on what metal is involved, whether gold, silver or copper. The commonest metal involved was silver. In this case a talent is converted to a thousand silver pieces and if you have five talents, so you have five thousand silver pieces; and the value of a talent of silver based in today’s value in peso is more than 20,000. In other words, if you have five talents, you are entrusted a considerable big amount of money.
In other words, Jesus is telling us that God has entrusted with so many talents, skills, graces, blessings and gifts. It may be in the form of material riches or special talent or skill. God is certainly delighted if we use all of these to the fullest.
But why is life like that each is given unequally? I don’t know. And yet we are all equal in the eyes of God. We are all guaranteed equal rights under the Constitution. In an election our votes are all equal. But when it comes to our abilities, we are as different as different can be. God simply did not make us all the same. There are some people who can handle five talents; there are some who can handle only one. There are some persons who have great intellectual capabilities, and some who do not. There are some who have the ability to project and articulate their thoughts, and there are some who cannot. There are some who have physical prowess and attractive looks, and there are some who do not.
And, let us also be aware that these remains God’s property – whether it’s a talent, ability, asset, money and others, they are God’s. We are only administrators of these gifts. We cannot dispense these as we please. We must use these talents and abilities according to God’s will, for His glory, and in the service of our neighbor.
Fr. Gerry Donato, a SVD priest had a very beautiful reflection on this gospel. He said that in the parable of the talents, the first two received gifts from the master but they knew what to do with these talents. The third one didn’t know and buried it in the ground. And for that, his master punished him.
He continued that God has given us so much gifts and talents. It is not a question of whether these talents are insignificant or not. It is rather a question of whether we are trying our best to use them for God and for others. Some do not know how to make use of their gifts. Others use their gifts in a wrong way. Some are gifted but they prefer to use them for their own interest. Others do not develop them further.
Also, most of us think that our children belong to us and become our property too because it is the mother who bore them for nine months. So if the committed wrongdoings, we scold them, we shout at them and get angry with them as if we own them and under us. Remember they are not ours they are God’s. God give them to us that are for us to take care, to protect, to give education and to teach values in life.
As mentioned awhile ago, the three servants receive unequal talents. Is this means that there is injustice and inequality here? That God has favoritism? No. Yes they received unequal talents but they received the same reward, the joy of belonging to God’s Kingdom. Here Jesus tells us that it does not really matter what and how many talents we receive. What counts is how we used these talents.
We are given by God time. Some people are afraid to give time and never make a visit to cheer up others who are in trouble or attend even just the smallest need of a person.
We are given by God treasure like money. Some people held it back and hoard it for themselves alone. They are preparing for the future of their children and for their early retirement. So they use their money for their own purpose. They enter into 5 – 6 type of usury.
We are given by God talents like for example, strumming guitar and others. Use it for the greater glory of God by becoming a member of the Church’s choir and for some other noble works. If you are beautiful or handsome, use this to convert others back to God and guide them back to the Church and not used this handsomeness or beauty to acquire more girlfriends or boyfriends.
Let us pray that our talents and gifts be used to the fullest. We will use our talents in order to bring happiness to other people. We will use our talents for our own good too and for God’s glory.
As Fr. Donato said that let us learn to discover our abilities and skills that God has endowed us. Let us not be afraid to make use of them in the way that God wants. Perhaps, we have many gifts but we also do not know what to do with them and just keep them hidden in the closets of our minds and bodies until they are forgotten. Discovering, developing and using our talents for the good of others are our assignment from God. In the end our Lord awaits to welcome us with the greeting: “Come, share your master’s joy.”
See Today’s Readings: Cycle A