33rd Sunday In Ordinary Time – A
Deacon Tom Vert
Preached: Nov 19, 2017
“Everything you need is already in there”
As I was preparing the homily this week, it was interesting that I have heard this gospel many times before and every time previously I had focused on the fact that the one servant did nothing with the talent or money that was given to him as the key point of the reading.
But this time, one new key point came out; that the master was going on a journey and entrusted his possessions to the servants and went away.
He already knew that they had all the skills and all the talents and all the knowledge to make the most of the money/talent given to them – he had confidence.
Note that talents in the gospel here are a weight of money (~75kg of silver or gold) and would be a great sum. One talent would be worth 15 year’s wages!! It was a huge amount of money and only with confidence would he have given it to these three servants.
He would have had to say to himself – I know they can do it, everything they need to manage this is inside of them – it’s already in there and I believe in them!
It’s almost if he is visualizing them standing there and seeing the potential.
It reminds me of what Michelangelo the great sculptor said when he was asked about his greatest works – the Pieta at the Vatican and David in Florence – he told people “The sculpture is already complete within the marble block, before I start my work. It is already there, I just have to chisel away the unneeded material.”
And this is what the master sees in his servants.
And when he comes back – to the servants who have utilized the gifts inside he says “well done my good and faithful servant” while to the one who did nothing he says “you wicked, lazy servant”.
There are three great lessons for us in this gospel message:
First we must know that God is the source of all of the talents and gifts and it is His love and grace that is the primary enabler for us.
Second, we must recognize that God is not only the source, but He has put into us these great talents when He created us and it is for us to discover what that great talent is. For each of us it is different and we have to determine through our life’s journey what those gifts are.
To me this is one of the most important parts of parenting – to help your children to find those gifts and talents and then to nurture them to grow and blossom in order for your children to do God’s will with the abilities that He has given to them.
Sometimes parents tell me that they are pushing their children to make sure that they are focused on the best paying careers as their key focus to ensure financial stability. But we need to ask ourselves as parents if that is really the right thing? Is that what God wants? Are we suppressing God’s gifts and talents in our children by not allowing them to focus on what God has put inside of them?
True joy in a career is when talents and gifts are celebrated and each day is a gift to society whether it is art, music, math, science, or literature. When we wake up each day loving what we do, it makes the world a better place.
Thirdly, when we know the gift we have been given, we are not to be afraid to put it into practice.
The lazy servant as we hear is in some ways paralyzed by fear – fear of doing the wrong thing. Fear of what might happen if he makes a mistake; and therefore he does nothing and buries his talent and just stands by.
If a person loves to sing and has the ability, but doesn’t join the choir because they say “I’m not as good as the others, or what If they don’t like my voice or maybe I just won’t fit in?” – isn’t that what the third servant did?
Or if we are a great organizer and when the call comes for help with a committee or a plan, and we say “someone else will step up” or “I’ve done my turn already” – is that using our gifts to the fullest?
These are important messages for us at this key point in our parish’s life, as we will need every person and every talent in order to make St. Catherine of Siena the community we want it to be.
We had our first parish building committee this past week and we discussed based on the feedback from everyone and our own perceptions what kind of parish we were trying to build. Not what kind of building, but what kind of parish – because the type of parish then defines the building.
And we heard the words inclusive, and having a community that walks the journey with our parishioners from baptism, through childhood, youth, marriage, family growth and in the senior years. Walking side by side like the disciples on the road to Emmaus in the ups and downs of life
Father Mark summed it up so well saying that we want a community that welcomes everyone like Christ welcomed – in an accepting, loving way with open arms.
We will be able to welcome in this way only if all of us are working together! We will have many opportunities in these next two to three years to join sub committees; but more importantly we will need people for all the stages of life.
We will need people for the standard ministries of lectors, the choir and children’s liturgy, and people to visit the sick, but we may also need people in things that are totally new – to help young families with parenting or young widows and widowers as they cope in crisis.
We may need gifts and talents to help our older parishioners – the ones on whose shoulders we stand as we build anew – to help them to feel a part of the “people of God” even though they may not always be able to physically make it here.
So over these next few week, months and years, I would ask you to really pray that God will tell you what gift or talent you can contribute to our parish
And if you worry that it isn’t good enough, or strong enough, or you are not sure you can do it – remember this: “Everything you need is already in there”