Delighting in God’s Gifts (33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Nov. 16, 2014)

Jesus bestows upon us a humongous number of blessings, far far above the five talents he gave to the first servant in Sunday’s Gospel. Out of love and care, he bestows his gifts only to the extent that we are able to use them, and according to our capabilities. He further gives us total freedom to use our creativity in using those talents.

So . . . what is the proper response to this loving, generous, and empowering Lord? The first two servants show us the way. They gladly go about their business, producing an abundant works of love and mercy this is what “talents” mean in this particular parable. Like the woman of the first reading, they reach out their hands to the poor and extend their arms to the needy. They strive to love and please the Lord in all things, especially in their relations and dealings with other people. Their primary concern is this: How can I respond, today, in the concrete circumstances of my life, to such a gracious Lord?

The third servant has an exaggerated fear of his master akin to the image of God that was drilled into many of us as we grew up. We feared a harsh and demanding God. As a result, the focus of our lives was avoiding sin (especially against the 6th commandment); which of course we could never do. I don’t remember much encouragement to use our God-given gifts for the betterment of our little corner of the world.

Most of us, thankfully, have overcome this fearfulness of the Lord. Yet still we hesitate: I’m afraid, embarrassed to unsure of myself to use my gifts. We actually fear our giftedness! All the more, then, do we need to turn to the Lord, to the one who cares intimately for each one of us, who is lavishly generous, who wants us to have life in abundance. In the face of such a loving God, we need not cower in fear (as did the third servant). Rather, we can stand in reverence and awe, delighting in God’s gifts to us. We can respond with hope and energy, graced to bring God’s love and goodness to others. God is never embarrassed by what we do out of love for him and others. Never.

Be God’s smile for someone today!!

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