HOMILY FOR SUNDAY 33RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – YEAR A
THEME: The Work of God (Opus Dei)
Father Anthony O. Ezeaputa, MA
In today’s gospel reading (Matthew 25:14–30), Jesus indicts the scribes and Pharisees for failing to fulfill their divinely ordained role as the light of the world. We can also learn that putting our talents and gifts to good use means collaborating with God’s continuous work of creation.
God chose Israel to be the light of the world. Israel was to be the people through whom God would lead those lost in the dark to find their way back to him (Isaiah 42:6; 49:6; 60:3). But Israel chose to bury the plan of God in the ground and keep the light for themselves.
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This is the circumstance that Jesus depicts in today’s parable. He wants his disciples to understand that at the Second Coming, there will be an accounting of how they have contributed to God’s plan of salvation with their God-given talents and gifts.
A master was about to embark on a journey. He entrusts his belongings to his servants based on their capabilities. One receives five talents, another three, and the third servant receives one talent. When he returns, he requests an account for what they have done with his talents. He rewarded the first and second servants but punished the third servant.
The first and second servants traded with the talents entrusted to them. They could have lost their talents and would have absolutely nothing to give back to their master. But it turned out that investing in their talents was worth the risk. They both doubled their talents and were rewarded with more responsibilities.
The third servant was given one talent, but because he was afraid to take any stupid financial risk, he buried his one talent and returned it to his master unchanged. Back then, burying wealth was a reliable way of keeping money safe. But his master wished that he had employed the talent entrusted to him to good use. So, he punished him.
Each of us is called to be the vessel through which God’s light shines in the world. We are called to use our gifts, talents, and blessings to make the world a better place. In other words, God continues his good work in the world through the talents that he has bestowed upon us.
On the other hand, if we fail to be the instrument through which God’s light shines in the world, we will be frustrating the good work of God in the world. If we fail to use our gifts, we are directly or indirectly not contributing to making the world a better place.
St. Teresa of Ávila is credited with having famously said that Christ has no body but yours. He has no hands or feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes with which He looks with compassion in this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands with which He blesses all the world. Yours are the hands; yours are the feet. Yours are the eyes. You are his body.
The gifts that each of us receives are a gift of the Spirit, and they are not entrusted to us for our own benefit but ultimately to serve God. But nowadays, most people are either afraid to use their gifts to produce good fruits or they’re green with envy over the talents of others.
Archbishop Rowan Williams reminds us: “At the Day of Judgment, as we are often reminded, the question will not be about why we failed to be someone else; I shall not be asked why I wasn’t Martin Luther King or Mother Teresa, but why I wasn’t Rowan Williams.”
Let us take a cue from the first and second servants in today’s parable and carefully invest our gifts. Talents are not given to be buried or returned to the giver. Using our talents may appear to be too risky at times, but it will be worth the risk at the Second Coming. Embrace your talents and use them to continue the work of God (Opus Dei) on earth. May Saint Jose María Escrivá pray for us.
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