Talents: God and Us -Homily
November 16, 2014
Today we often hear about “Talent Shows”, that consist of a series of individual performances (such
as singing, dancing, playing an instrument) by amateurs who may be selected for
special recognition because they perform well.
In the times of Jesus “talent” was the word
used to designate a unit of weight or money. Because of the parable we heard
today (Matthew 25,14-30), “talent” is used to describe
the natural ability for being good at a particular activity or a special
aptitude or skill that allows someone to do something well.
the parable of the Talents, we want to point out two teachings, one about
ourselves (1) and another about God (2).
1. All of us have
The Teaching about ourselves: We, all of us,
have talents. I do not know anyone who has no talent. God gives to men and
women different gifts, talents, aptitudes, skills, blessings.
What Kind of Talents?
There are all kinds of talents. It can be
natural skills such as athletic, creative, or artistic aptitudes. There are
people who play instruments well, other people sing or paint, others play some
sport very well. But these are not all the gifts we can receive in our life.
Talents can be natural virtues such as the capacity to listen to others, to be
meek, kind, friendly, polite, to have good heart, to
be smart or intelligent. They can be other skills we have learnt during the
years such as sewing, cooking, or our profession. It can be richness in the few
or many things we have.
A special gift that all of us received from
God is our family, and another great gift is our Faith. Pope Francis said:
“This parable urges us to not hide our faith and our belonging to Christ, to
not bury the Word of the Gospel, but to make it circulate in our life, in our
relationships, in our concrete situations, as a power that undermines, that
purifies, that renews” (3).
One man received five talents, another two,
and another one. It is not a man’s talent, which matters; what matters is how he uses it. God never demands from a man abilities
which he has not got; but he does demand that a man should use, to the full,
the abilities which he does possess. Men are not equal in talent; but men
can be equal in effort. The parable tells us that whatever talent we have,
little or great, we must lay it at the service of God.
More Work To Do
The Gospel tells us that the reward of work
well done is still more work to do. The two servants who had done well are not
told to lean back and rest on their oars because they have done well. They are
given greater tasks and greater responsibilities in the work of the master.
It tells us that the man who is punished is
the man who will not try. The man with the one talent did not lose his talent;
he simply did nothing with it. Even if he had adventured with it and lost it,
it would have been better than to do nothing at all. It is always a temptation
for the one talent man to say, “I have so small a talent and I can do so little
with it. It is not worth while to try, for all the
contribution I can make.” The condemnation is for the man who, having even one
talent, will not try to use it, and will not risk it for the common good.
The first step that all of us must take is to
recognize or discover our talents. It would be useful to take a few minutes
this week and write on a sheet of paper the talent we know that God has given
us. We will be surprised.
The second step is to see how we are using
them. We must ask ourselves what we are doing in our life with the gifts that
These two steps are our homework this week.
2. How do we think
The second teaching in today’s Gospel is
about God: How do we think about God?
The words of the third servant manifest a
negative view of the master and the resulting fear. Because of this fear the
servant takes the wrong solution: hide the talent, in order to be able to
recover it and return it to his master. The master, however, did not give his
talents to his servants only that they might be saved, but because they were to
be used in a profitable way.
The master shows him that his conduct is
inconsistent. The servant says, “Master, I knew you were a demanding person,
harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter “and
his master points out: “Should you not then have put my money in the bank so
that I could have got it back with interest on my return?”. This is the minimum
that the servant could have done.
We must have a positive idea of God. We must
not think that he is a bad boss, a tough and stern person, who only wants to
take advantage of the people at fault to punish them. If we have a bad idea of
God, then our lives will not be fruitful: we will live in fear.
We need to examine ourselves to see what our
idea of God is.
God is manifested, especially in the Gospel,
as a God full of generosity, mercy, like a father. And he insisted on showing
us that God is not a bad boss, but a father full of love and generosity.
Because He loves us, He gave us talents. He
trusts in us and He knows that we can use them rightly.
He gave us our life, our family, our skills,
our Faith. He gave us Jesus, his only Son. He gave us the sacraments.
God has a project for us: For each one of us
it is different, and for this reason, all of us have different talents.
mission is to develop, improve, and increase our talents living our life like a
gift of God.
Talents are God given and if we share them,
they will help others glorify Him who gave them freely to show his love. God
trusts in us. We must trust in him too.
Let Our Lady help us to use our talents for
the good of our brothers and sisters.
* * * * * * * *
Cfr. Albert Vanhoye, Le Letture Bibliche delle Domeniche, Anno A, Roma 2004, 294-297.
Cfr. William Barclay, The daily study Bible. The
Gospel of Matthew, Burlington 1975, 321-324.
Pope Francis, Angelus November 16th, 2014.