Sunday, November 16, 2008  The virtues of discretion and prudence cannot be offered as excuses for inaction or un-involvement.

Homily, Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fr. Kirity Podila

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ:

In earlier chapters of St. Matthew’s gospel, there was a lengthy instruction for Jesus to prepare His followers to become His disciples. Jesus warned them that he was sending them out like sheep in the midst of wolves, and He counseled them to be a shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.

In today’s gospel, also from ST. Matthew, He explains what He means by shrewdness, i.e., to be willing to stand up, speak up, shoulder responsibility, and risk whatever is necessary to remain actively committee to Christ and the good news of salvation. Shrewdness understands that Christian commitment is not a part-time attempt, or spectator sort – nor can commitment be exercised at a distance.

Through today’s parable, Jesus makes it clear that not everyone has the same talents or abilities; each disciple is expected to make the best and most complete use of whatever talents he or she has.

God has given the gift of freedom, free will and it is up to us to exercise our freedom and use the talent God has given us. Each of us has talents – intelligence, artistic ability, musical ability, manual dexterity, ability to relate to people, a sense of humor, organization ability – whatever it is, it is God-given. And God trusts us with this talent; He has given us the responsibility for the talent. He wants us to use it to do a job for Him. And we freely and generously respond.

Take a look at the brave woman in today’s First Reading. She is industrious, using her talents – busy – working for the good of others. She is doing what God wants her to do.

The same is true with us. How we use the talents that God gave us is important but how we did it. It doesn’t matter whether we are an executive or a laborer; how we do the job matters. Did we do it honestly and with responsibility? Did we do it freely and generously?  Did we do our best realizing that God gave us the talent to do it and He trusted us?

In the gospel, two of the servants used their master’s money and gained for their treasurer and the master rewarded them. The third servant did not do so but dug a hole and placed his master’s money in that hole. He chose freely not to take a risk and his master condemned him. The virtues of discretion and prudence cannot be offered as excuses for inaction or un-involvement. When desire turns into fear, the disciple chooses his own safety, or security, over the risk of committed service. Being an authentic disciple demands risk, i.e., the risk of being willing to live the gospel and thereby to make the good news public in every thought, work and deed.


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