My homily for 33rd Sunday of the year

33rd Sunday of the Year (a) 2017

We have all been given talents and we should use them; that is the moral of the parable. I think it is important we understand what Christ means by that word ‘talent’, because it can have several meanings. I suppose the obvious meaning is gift; we say that someone is very talented; in other words they are gifted. We could say that the Tottenham Footballer, Harry Kane, is very talented; I’m not sure the Arsenal fans would agree with that, but, it means that he is very good at football. Also, we could say that the formula one driver, world champion for the 4th time, Lewis Hamilton, is very talented. Mary Berry, the chef, has great talent when she is cooking. These are talents given to a few people. Most of us don’t have these talents to such a degree. At school I was quite talented in art and sport. I wasn’t particularly talented at football; I did manage to score a few goals, which I still dream about. But Christ isn’t talking about this kind of talent.

The kind of talent he is talking about is to be found in the first reading. The opening line is a gift for many modern comedians: ‘a perfect wife-who can find her’! But I’m not a comedian, even though I do like to make people laugh. But the point of the first reading is deadly serious. It speaks of a wife who works hard in the home to make the place a home; we are told ‘she is always busy’. But we are also told that she ‘holds out her hand to the poor, she opens her arms to the needy’. This is her talent, her real talent. The person who holds out their hands to the poor and needy is gifted; they have been given the gift of compassion by God, and they are using that gift. The reading goes on to praise the wife for her wisdom. Now this too is a gift: wisdom. It’s not something you can buy or demand because it’s a gift. And gifts are freely given. But compassion and wisdom are not just for wives or women, they are gifts offered to everyone, men as well.

The real talents we have been given can’t be measured; if you’re kind you can’t measure that; if you think of others, especially the poor and needy, it can’t be weighed in a scale. And wisdom; what a great gift, but again, you can’t measure it or weigh it. It is a gift from God. We are all given these gifts and they are to be used to make our homes and our world a better place. Don’t neglect the gifts you have been given. And all of us do have such gifts.

When I was a teenager I used to admire people who were tall and good looking, who had lots of money, who had class, who could chat up girls, who wore fashionable clothes whose hair was expensively cut. But now that I am older and wiser, I admire different qualities in people. Qualities, or gifts, that are not fashionable; such as loyalty, reliability, dependability; I admire honesty and generosity; kindness and compassion. Maybe they are not eye catching qualities, and they are hard to measure, but they are precious gifts. God is offering these gifts to us all. He does so for a purpose. Use them to make the world a better place; use them to spread love in our world; use them to make people realise that they are lovable and loved. Then you will be using the talents you have been given. You will be fulfilling the purpose God has for you. And all you do is to recognize your gifts and then use them for the greater praise and glory of God.

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