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Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

1 Thess. 4:9-11 & Mt. 25:14-3

Love is a gift from God. These words are backed up by Saint Paul in today's first reading, “You have learnt from God to love one another.” He praises them for the ways in which they demonstrate this and encourages them to make even greater efforts. For him love is not just a theological virtue but something that has to be put into practise every day.

Gifts are distributed by God among us as He wills, as is clear from today's Gospel reading, and He entrusts each one of us with a mission. He gives us what we need to produce fruits for His kingdom, and He expects us to use those gifts responsibly and diligently. No two people are exactly alike and God treats each one, individually, as a unique person made in His image. We need to live before God and respond to Him sincerely by using to the maximum the talents He has given us. Are we making the best use of all that God has given us? Might we be committing sins of omission with regards to some of our talents?

The servants who invest the talents and make a return on them have understood the purpose of their lives and the time they have at their disposal. These servants were generous with everything their master had given them, making it bear fruit, and they received from Him the reward of greater intimacy and more responsibility. Each of us is also given a limited amount of time in life to use our various gifts to give glory to God and help save other souls. We too should work every day to hear those words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

How often we are paralyzed by fear or false prudence into doing nothing, into trying just to preserve ourselves! Sometimes we do not take God’s gifts seriously or think we have been given very little, and we use that as a rationalization for making no effort for God or for producing little. We blame circumstances or others; but the fact is we are neglecting to produce the fruits God wants. The master did not expect a return of five talents from the servant to whom he gave only one. He would have been happy with a return of one more but the lazy servant did nothing. We must resolve to use our God-given talents wisely so as to net Him a big return.

Lord Jesus, give us the grace and love to work for Your kingdom, with all the talents that You have given us. Let us return them all to You with real fruits.

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