November 19, 2023
FOCUS: We are given talents to share.
The Lord has told us that he will come again at the end of time to judge the living and the dead. Though the timing is unpredictable, this end is inevitable and inescapable. Let us be prepared to give an account of the ways in which we have used our gifts for the benefit of others.
What's in Your Heart
We enter into a time of reckoning of sorts. The readings for this Sunday extol the fruits of a life of wisdom, issue a call to live awake and in the light, and warn us with the parable of the talents.
Prayerfully consider these questions and take stock of ways you give a good return on the gifts God has given you, and where you may have let them lie fallow.
In the first reading, wisdom’s value is measured by the abundant goodness that she produces. What accomplishment of the past year has brought me the most satisfaction?
In the letter to the Thessalonians, Paul responds to those who are disappointed that their fellow believers have died before the second coming of Jesus. What disappointments lurk in my heart? What consolation do I take from Paul’s words?
What gifts or talents have I buried: dreams of my younger days; potential that others have seen in me; talents that would take me out of my “comfort zone” should I try access them?
Speaking of spiritual gifts, Jesus says, “To all those who have, more will be given and you will have an abundance.” What spiritual gifts have I received? How have I seen them grow through the grace of God?
I had a friend whose father worked a lot of evenings and also traveled a lot for his job. He once told me, "I was always relieved when I heard Dad's footstep on the stairs coming up to our apartment. Life never seemed quite right when he was away, and for a while I found myself becoming withdrawn and even depressed during his absences." Though God never leaves us, there are times we experience the absence of God. Today's gospel begins by saying that the landowner was leaving—going on a journey. The story revolves around what happens in the landowner's absence. Some people stay busy and involved in life, putting their "talents" to good use. Others withdraw from life and get disengaged.
Perhaps one of the best benefits of having faith, even in those times when we don't feel God's presence, is that it gives us the confidence to continue to function well in life—physically, emotionally, and spiritually—despite our uncertainties. This is one of the biggest gifts that parents can nurture in their children—the ability to have faith even in times of doubt. We will all go through times of confusion. But the worst thing we can do at such times is to withdraw our gifts and our talents from the world. For it is in putting them to good use that we're most likely to hear God's footsteps and know that all is well.