In Using Your Talents, Remember The Poor!
The theme for these weeks is LOOK ALIVE! Be watchful, be prepared! Be ready at any time for the Lord’s return. “The day of the Lord will come like a thief at night.” So “be children of the day and light, not of night or darkness.” So we should not just be sitting around on our hands—like the five foolish girls of last week’s gospel, or the man with the one talent which he buried and did not use.
The Lord wants us to make good use of the talents we have been given—10 if we have 10, 1 if we have 1. The man with 1 talent in the gospel story is scolded for having done nothing. “You could at least have put it in the bank so it would draw interest!” he is told. What are the talents entrusted to you?
There is a Japanese basketball player active in American professional basketball. He is “only” 179 centimeters tall, which is short for a basketball player. The players around him are 190 centimeters or more. But he is able to move through and around the others with great skill and score points. He uses the talent he has. So if you have 1 talent, don’t envy others with 5 or 10 talents, Use to the full the 1 talent you have.
There is another theme today. We find it in the first reading, where we saw a woman fully alive and active, with a sharp eye on her house, and on her husband’s activity and advantage. She also “reaches out her hands to the poor and extends her arms to the needy.” Pope Francis has declared this Sunday to be the World Day of the Poor and the theme for this year is: “DO NOT LOOK AWAY FROM THE POOR.”
Let me quote Pope Francis: “Every day we are committed to welcoming the poor, yet this is not enough. A river of poverty flows through our cities and gets bigger and bigger until it overflows. That river seems to overwhelm us, so much so that the cry of the brothers and sisters asking for help, support, and solidarity is growing louder and louder.
“We are living in times that are not particularly sensitive to the needs of the poor. The pressure to adopt an affluent lifestyle increases, while the voices of those dwelling in poverty tend to go unheard. … We disregard anything that is unpleasant or causes suffering, and exalt physical qualities as if they were the primary goal in life. Virtual reality is overtaking real life, and increasingly the two worlds blend into one. The poor become a film clip that can affect us for a moment, yet when we encounter them in flesh and blood on our streets, we are annoyed and look the other way. Haste…prevents us from stopping to help care for others. The parable of the Good Samaritan is not simply a story from the past. It continues to challenge each of us in the here and now of our daily lives.”
Pope Francis has urged us “to encounter the Lord, who reveals himself as present in the least of his brothers and sisters. Prayer to God and solidarity with the poor and suffering are inseparable. … We have to recognize that each person, even the poorest…is made in the image of God. From this awareness comes the gift of God’s blessing, drawn by the generosity we show to the poor.
We shall be evaluated by what we do (“I was naked and you clothed me, hungry and you fed me”) or by what we do not do (“I was sick and you did not visit me”). Do not look the other way. “What you do for the least of these you do for me,” says Christ our Lord.
By Fr. Robert Chiesa, Sj