September 2, 2023
Saturday of the Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time
“The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities.’” Matthew 25:20–21
Oftentimes, when we are presented with a story of success versus tragedy, our attention goes to the tragedy first. The parable we are given today, the Parable of the Talents, presents us with three persons. Two of the people display stories of great success. One, however, offers a story that is more tragic. The tragic story ends by the master telling the servant who buried his money that he is a “wicked, lazy servant!” But both of the success stories end with the master saying, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities.” Let’s focus upon these success stories.
Both of the servants who were successful doubled the master’s money. Even from a secular point of view, that is very impressive. If you were investing money with a financial advisor and shortly after investing you were told that your money had doubled, you’d be quite pleased. Such a rate of return is rare. This is the first message we should take from this parable. Doubling the gifts and graces God gives us is very doable. The reason for this is not primarily because of us; rather, it’s because of God. By their very nature, God’s gifts to us are meant to grow. By its very nature, grace flows in superabundance; and, when we cooperate with God’s grace, then it grows in an exponential way.
When you consider your own life, what gifts has God given to you that He wants you to use for His glory? Are there gifts buried away that remain stagnant or, even worse, are used for purposes that are contrary to the divine plan for your life? Some of the more obvious gifts you were given within your very nature are your intellect and will. Additionally, you may be extra-talented in one way or another. These are all gifts given on a natural level. In addition to these, God often bestows supernatural gifts in abundance when we begin to use what we have for His glory and for the salvation of others. For example, if you work to share the truths of our faith with others, God will begin to deepen your supernatural gifts of Counsel, Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding so that you will be able to speak about God and His will. All seven of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are among the clearest examples of supernatural gifts given by God as follows: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, Fear of the Lord. The prayer that concludes this reflection comes from a traditional novena to the Holy Spirit and not only asks for these gifts but also gives a short description of them for a better understanding.
Reflect, today, upon the fact that what God has given to you, both on a natural and supernatural level, must be devoted to the service of God and others. Do you do this? Do you try to use every talent, every gift, every part of who you are for God’s glory and the eternal good of others? If you don’t, then those gifts dwindle away. If you do, you will see those gifts of God’s grace grow in manifold ways. Strive to understand the gifts you have received and firmly resolve to use them for God’s glory and the salvation of souls. If you do, you will also hear our Lord say to you one day, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
Oh, Lord Jesus Christ, grant me the Spirit of Wisdom, that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal; the Spirit of Understanding, to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth; the Spirit of Counsel, that I may choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining Heaven; the Spirit of Fortitude, that I may bear my cross with Thee and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation; the Spirit of Knowledge, that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints; the Spirit of Piety, that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable; the Spirit of Fear of the Lord, that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Jesus, I trust in You.