33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time - 19th November, 2017

Liturgical Reflection

Matthew 25: 14-30

The Faithful Servant

You can’t help but wonder how Australia, as a nation, is faring in God’s kingdom. Here we are in possession of so many resources and abilities, our land does indeed abound in nature’s gifts, and yet have we invested wisely? Have we shone our light, or buried it for fear of having to share our bounty with others we deem less worthy? Those ‘others’ who had the temerity to try to improve their appalling situations by getting on a boat instead of waiting patiently in some mythical queue for their turn to come.

It is also useful to consider our own personal gifts, given by God and entrusted to us. How will we be assessed regarding their investment?

We are granted many positive attributes, some easy to identify; a musical or artistic talent is readily distinguished, but others are not so obvious: family connections, social positions, education, hospitality, wisdom attained through personal experiences, for example.

Sometimes opportunities to invest our talents are stumbled upon unexpectedly: the disgruntled shopper at the checkout, or the tired parent with a couple of fractious toddlers. Maybe being an opportunist is not always such a bad idea.

There is no job shortage for the opportunist: the volunteer who leads a study group, the entrepreneur who starts a new business giving work to others, the health administrator who initiates a vaccination-awareness campaign, the machine operator who develops a process innovation making life easier for others or the Facebook user starting a campaign to right a perceived wrong, they are all building the kingdom.

Jesus uses his parable to highlight the fact that we are not all endowed with the same gifts, abilities or endurance. Here humility and understanding are vital. Let us give praise and gratitude for the talents of others and avoid the dangers of envy and the negative critique.

Where we use our gifts is a vital question, and everyone whether young or old is forced to consider this. “Should I become a nurse, (a job I have dreamed about since childhood) or a lawyer for which I have the necessary university entrance requirements?” "Should I get involved with my neighbour’s seemingly endless problems or use the time to read, and study, and pray?” It is a continuing quandary.

Many gifts emerge and develop as we get older. The Lord seems boundless in generosity. Our cup truly does ‘runneth over’.

Let us keep looking and developing our talents and be ever ready to utilise the opportunities when and where we find them.

Judith Croke