Fr. Dale’s Homily
33rd Sunday of OT (Cycle A)
November 14-15, 2020
Gospel: Matthew 25:14-30
Remember when you were in grade school or high school and someone, usually a parent, would speak of another student as “truly talented”? Just what talent were they referring to? I could almost guarantee you it was athletic, artistic or musical. And perhaps you had none of these. However, you were running a small business taking care of four lawns, selling Christmas wrapping paper door-to-door, and recycling aluminum cans selling them by the pound. Did anyone ever say that you were talented? Probably not. Industrious maybe, but not talented. And yet, consider how many of those band members or track stars are still using their talents 20 years later, while you may now have a business of your own employing many persons and providing a true service to your community.
I mention the talent of money management and business organization because so often our concept of talented people is limited to athletics and the arts. Thus, when we listen or read the teaching of Jesus in today’s Gospel regarding the use of talents, we are not as concerned with our accountability to God, as we are about whether we even have a talent at all.
If we cannot paint like Picasso or play tennis well enough to go to Wimbledon, we believe somehow we were behind the heavenly doors when God passed out the talents.
Jesus says that God has given each of us talents according to our ability. God has given each part of His creation a talent according to one’s ability, and that includes humans as well. We are the ones who have decided that to be talented means that we excel in one of three or four areas and we are willing to pay enormous, ridiculous salaries to those who meet that criteria.
God’s idea of talents is based on neither their usefulness to others, not on the number of talents nor how artistic they are. If you notice in Jesus’ teaching, the man with one talent was NOT chastised because he had only one talent. He was condemned because he did not use the one talent he had been given.
A few years back [before I came to SFX in 2012] I stood outside a church nursery door before I was to sub and have Mass. I observed one of the teenage volunteers who was average in every way, not athletic nor artistic talents. However, as I stood there watching her with 7 or 8 preschoolers, it was evident she had a talent few have been blessed with. As two of the kids starting fighting over one toy, she very calmly arose, walked over the children, sat down between them, and started to read to them. Most of us would have yelled or disciplined or punished. Within seconds, the kid’s anger turned to rapt attention.
What would you call that talent? Perhaps peace making? God had given that teenager her one talent according to her ability and then an opportunity to use it. Is the talent to be loving but firmwith a group of preschoolers any less important than the talent to paint old barns or score a touchdown? Not to God, it isn’t.
As we know and as we are reminded, God will hold us accountable for using our talent to His glory. Drew Carey might have a talent for making people laugh, but one would rightfully question whether it has anything to do with building up God’s Kingdom.
God does not require our talents to be used necessarily in the church. A confirmation candidate in the hallways of a local hospital sharing a talent of giving comfort and hope to burn victims is certainly glorifying God with his talent as much as a school teacher who loves the children in her class.
A talent is only a talent until it is used to serve God. At that point, it becomes a gift of ultimate value multiplying every time we use it. In another person’s eyes, it may seem insignificant.
In God’s eyes you are a SUPERSTAR.