How many talents do you have? In today’s gospel of Mathew we have an invitation to reflect on the talents, gifts, or abilities we have received from God. The traditional reflection we do with this gospel is about how we use those talents. But I invite you today to think about the attitude we have when we compare our talents with other people.
First of all, I do not believe it is good to compare with other people, or that parents compare their children with other children or siblings. When we compare ourselves, we might become vain or embitter, because there will always be greater and lesser people that us. All of us have talents without exception. Certainly some people have more and others have less, but we all have some. We received our talents to put them to work and each of us has to give an account how we are using them. We do not need to be jealous because other persons are more gifted that us, neither do we have to think that we are better that others because we are more gifted. As the Gospel of Luke says “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more” (12:48b). Each one of us, whether we receive one hundred or just one, have to use them.
During my first year at the seminary, in Mexico, we had to do some pastoral work on weekends at different parishes. Sometimes I was feeling very insignificant because I saw some of my fellow seminarians coming back on Sundays after running a retreat for 3oo young people. Since I had no previous experience doing pastoral work, I was just teaching some kindergarteners (about 5 children) how to pray the Our Father. I shared my frustration with my spiritual director. And he (a very holy and wise priest) said to me: for God, it has the same value to teach your 5 kids how to pray the Our Father, as for your classmates helping 300 young people. What really matters for God is if your put all your heart in your ministry, even though it might seem insignificant before the eyes of people.
What really matters for God is to show quality, not quantity. If we put our hearts in what we do, we will receive a reward, without the need of comparing ourselves to more or less gifted people.
A “Welcoming Rite”
Last week we had an article in the bulletin about the Rite of Peace during mass. The article said that the sign of peace is not a greeting that we offer, but a solemn gesture we give to the persons next to us.
Traditionally, this ritual finds its roots in the Gospel of Matthew (5:23-24):”So, if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift before the altar and go first and be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Matthew writes about making peace before offering your gift. Presently, the manner in which we offer the sign of peace in the Mass comes after the gifts have been brought to the altar and prepared. The sign of peace is not really about making peace with one another, rather, it is an statement that we are at peace with one another. So, at Blessed Sacrament Parish we want to keep this solemn ritual before we receive Jesus, in the Eucharist, under the appearance of bread and wine. But we want to be a happy and welcoming community for all! That is how the first Christian communities were identified. So, beginning with this new liturgical year, with the Advent season, at the beginning of the Mass, the priest presiding will invite us to turn to one another and offer a greeting of welcome. We want to acknowledge at the beginning of mass that each of us is part of the same Body of Christ, gathered to worship, pray, sing, and participate in the celebration, that is the center of our faith: the Eucharist.
We hope this gesture will help us to become more integrated into the mystical Body of Christ, and assist us in knowing each other, as one family we are: Blessed Sacrament Parish.
(Joanne Amedeo helped in writing this article)