“Communicating hope and trust in our time.”

- Pope Francis

Investing my talents or not

THIRTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR A
Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31
1 Thessalonians 5:1-6
Matthew 25:14-30

By Fr. Euly Belizar, Jr.

OUR readings continue the trend on these last sundays of the Church calendar to remind us of the end times (second reading) by investing our all in love of God and neighbor as expressions of faith (first reading and the Gospel).
My teacher in music saw me playing the guitar at the rec hall of the college seminary I went to one afternoon, years ago. Surprised to see me alone and somewhat hiding myself, he asked, “Since when have you been playing the guitar?” “Since third year, high school seminary, Father,” I answered sheepishly. “I want you in the choir,” he told me. Then he said something that has kept ringing in my ears, “The only way to keep a talent is to use it.”

What is in common between the ideal wife being praised in the first reading and the Gospel’s servants who invested five and two thousand talents they received from their master? Industry, in the wife doing everything for her family, the community and the poor; in the two servants’ making use of their talents/funds, taking risks to earn more for their master. They have used their gifts/talents not only for themselves but also for God and neighbor.

The extra-fearful and rigid servant who hides his one thousand easily stands for the Pharisees and the Jewish authorities who are more concerned with preserving the purity of the Mosaic Law rather than putting it into practice according to God’s intentions. But he likewise stands for Christians who effectively hide their faith by not living it. For instance, isn’t it disconcerting to hear of the Philippines being called “the only Christian country in Asia” and also “second most corrupt”? It is something that challenges us: How come our Christian nation is not known for Christian behavior? Haven’t we been hiding our “thousand” in the sand of split-level lives?

Of course, this does not speak of the whole Philippines. We have a San Lorenzo Ruiz and a San Pedro Calungsod to remind us that there are also “servants” among us who truly invest their their time, gifts-abilities and wealth for the sake of spreading and living the faith. Jesus exposes those we need to emulate and the one we need to keep far away from.

In buses and trains I often see a lot of people unabashedly displaying their jewelry on their necks, ears, wrists, even tongues. I often wonder why we shouldn’t also display our faith just as unabashedly.

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