Using the Gifts That God Has Given Us

In one more week, we will be celebrating the solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. This title of Christ marks the end of the 34th Sunday of Ordinary Time. So it is appropriate that the Sunday’s readings remind us about the end of our journey on earth and turning our gaze towards Christ. If not, we would be easily distracted by worldly desire and treat certain people or things as our king.

There are many ways to prepare for the Lord’s second coming. All three readings this Sunday encourage us to prepare diligently. The woman in the first reading is a model for the people of her time how best to serve her household and community. The second reading urges us to be ready at all times since we don’t know when the Lord will come again. The gospel gives us an example of the reward we will receive if we are prepared and the consequence we will suffer if we are not.

“Evil thrives when good men do nothing.”  When we bury the goodness God has given us, we indirectly cultivate evil in this world. I personally know some people who are like the servant in the Gospel who buries the talent that God has given him in the ground. Their excuse is, “As long as I do no harm to others, I am a good man.” I remember there was a story about this farmer who inherited some gold from his uncle as his uncle had no children. He had never had such a fortune in his entire life and he did not trust anybody with the gold, not even with the bank. Day and night, he guarded the gold because he was so worried that once he left the gold unattended, somebody might come to steal it. One day he had this brilliant idea. He dug a hole in the ground close to the field where he labored and buried the gold in it. But as he finished covering the hole, he thought perhaps this would not be safe enough. So, he put up a sign next to the hole saying, “At this place, you won’t find any gold.” People who think as long as they do no harm to others is good enough are just as foolish as this farmer who put up the sign and said that there was no gold in the hole. Just like all the skills we acquire, be it speaking a foreign language, playing musical instruments or skating, once we do not practice it, we would lose it. The more practice we do, the better the skill will be. Therefore, we should take the last words of today’s gospel seriously, “For to everyone who has, more will be given and they will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” How long could the people who claim they are good without practicing good deeds remain good just because they do no harm to others? The gospel today has given us the answer.

Fr. Francis Ng

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