November 19, 2008
Wednesday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
Luke 19: 11-28
While people were listening to Jesus speak, he proceeded to tell a parable because he was near Jerusalem and they thought that the Kingdom of God would appear there immediately. So he said, "A nobleman went off to a distant country to obtain the kingship for himself and then to return. He called ten of his servants and gave them ten gold coins and told them, 'Engage in trade with these until I return.' His fellow citizens, however, despised him and sent a delegation after him to announce, 'We do not want this man to be our king.' But when he returned after obtaining the kingship, he had the servants called, to whom he had given the money, to learn what they had gained by trading. The first came forward and said, 'Sir, your gold coin has earned ten additional ones.' He replied, 'Well done, good servant! You have been faithful in this very small matter; take charge of ten cities.' Then the second came and reported, 'Your gold coin, sir, has earned five more.' And to this servant too he said, 'You, take charge of five cities.' Then the other servant came and said, 'Sir, here is your gold coin; I kept it stored away in a handkerchief, for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding person; you take up what you did not lay down and you harvest what you did not plant.' He said to him, 'With your own words I shall condemn you, you wicked servant. You knew I was a demanding person, taking up what I did not lay down and harvesting what I did not plant; why did you not put my money in a bank? Then on my return I would have collected it with interest.' And to those standing by he said, 'Take the gold coin from him and give it to the servant who has ten.' But they said to him, 'Sir, he has ten gold coins.' 'I tell you, to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king, bring them here and slay them before me.'" After he had said this, he proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, you have given me many talents. Using my talents might make me feel proud, but I know if I use them with you in mind and give you all the credit, it will bring much joy to your heart.
Petition: My Lord, help me to realize that even lacking talents is itself a talent. Help me never to get discouraged, because anything can be used to bring you glory!
1. Anything Can Be a Talent
All things can be used for the glory of God, even some things we lack! In his infinite wisdom, God provides us opportunities to grow in our personal holiness. He gives us the means to help us along, although some means are more obvious than others. We all can count the many talents God has given us, and we thank God for them. But perhaps we might overlook other gifts that, at first sight, seem to hide God’s love and kindness. It’s virtuous to recognize that these gifts are subtle gifts from God to afford us greater closeness to him: Think of a headache or some other bodily ache; think of that public mistake that was a great lesson in humility.
2. The Talent of Time
One of the greatest talents that we have been given is time. We all have it, but some of us use it better than others. Our Lord has given us all a certain amount of time to live out our mission in this life. Seen in this perspective, we recognize that time is not ours to squander. Using our time well requires discipline, but more than discipline, it requires love. When we think we don’t have time for something, it means we have little or no interest in it. But when we have an interest or love, we make time. Our Lord wants us to be happy and to use our time for the purpose he has created us. If we strive to please him, he will also move our hearts to serve him by taking on concrete apostolic action. On the other hand, we should fear idleness, that wasting of precious time!
3. God Will Provide
God blesses our fidelity and effort. Never let the title for this point be an excuse for laziness, but rather be an encouragement to press forward. God will always provide to the extent that we allow him. Remember that famous saying: “Trust in God as though everything depended on him and work as though everything depended on you.” God desires to make us of instruments to serve as channels for his grace, and if those instruments don’t work, his blessings may not reach us. Think of it this way: A father once told his son that if he brought home a grade card displaying a 3.0 GPA, he would buy him a car for his 16th birthday. The son, knowing full well that his dad never followed through with his conditions, brought home a grade card full of D’s and F’s and, after a slight reprimand, received his car. The question that naturally follows is, “What has the son gained from this?” The answer: Nothing, for he did not earn this car. God, on the other hand, wants us to earn his blessings, otherwise we become lazy and selfish and less human. As the saying goes, “God helps those who help themselves.”
Conversation with Christ: Heavenly Father, I know that you want what is best for me and that you have provided me with all the tools I need to succeed in this life. Please help me to value these gifts and to use them in such a way as to give you glory.
Resolution: Today I will thank God for his gifts by offering up to him all my activities through a frequent purification of my intention.
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