When we listen to the story about the distribution of talents, namely coins, we naturally relate this image to the outstanding abilities that lay within people. Everyone has some form of talent, we say. Talent in acting, music, painting, sporting activities, mathematical or literary skills…. We develop them within ourselves or bury them, and we often also attribute them to God, thanking Him for the talents we have received. The parable in today’s Gospel, however, is more about the journey towards the kingdom of God than it is about gifted talents. It instructs us to use the wealth entrusted to us, multiply it and return it to the Lord with profit. The parable argues that God will reward the industrious and punish the lazy and bold. The day and hour of our accounting for the talents we have received are unknown, writes St Paul in his Letter to the Thessalonians. But what is this wealth entrusted to us to be multiplied and returned to God? Talents are the spiritual goods of the kingdom of God. These are the words that God gives us. A key word for living a wise, prudent, holy life.
How many such blessed words , soothing and disturbing at the same time, teaching, convincing, we have already heard in our hearts – during prayer, in church, reading the Bible…. Do we bury them too easily in the sand of our laziness, sloth, convenience? With these words-talents, Christ offers us a successful life, instead of a frustrated life. A successful life is a good, useful life. The man who multiplies the word received from God is the man who abides in Christ and draws strength from his Eucharistic presence. It is here that every Sunday we receive anew the talent of the kingdom of God. A particular talent that each of us should develop is the ability to give, the talent of the open hand. Today we celebrate World Day of the Poor. Like the woman in the first reading who “opens her hand to the poor, extends her arms to the destitute”, every Christian should be convinced that there is more joy in giving than in receiving. “Do not turn away your face from anyone who is poor”… This word helps us to understand the essence of our witness,” – wrote the Pope Francis in his message for the day.
Today, when virtual reality is replacing real life we must remember that the poor are not just images to stir up for a few moments. The Holy Father addresses us: ” May our concern for the poor always be marked by Gospel realism. Our sharing should meet the concrete needs of the other, rather than being just a means of ridding ourselves of superfluous goods. What the poor need is certainly our humanity, our hearts open to love. Let us never forget that “we are called to find Christ in them, to lend our voice to their causes, but also to be their friends, to listen to them, to speak for them and to embrace the mysterious wisdom which God wishes to share with us through them. Faith teaches us that every poor person is a son or daughter of God and that Christ is present in them. “Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” .