TAKING RISKS

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time        

            There is a saying: “If you wanna win, you gotta play.” Kung gusto mong manalo, eh, kailangan maglaro ka, makipagsapalaran ka, o sumugal ka. There is another saying: “You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” For me, these two sayings are good definition or description of what taking risks is all about.

            The parable in today’s gospel is full of risks and surprises. First of all, it is surprising to hear of a man who risks leaving his precious possessions with his servants. According to some gospel commentaries, the value of one talent is considerable. It is not a mere coin but a weight; it’s worth depends on what metal is involved – whether gold, silver or copper. Here, a talent is converted to a thousand silver pieces. Given this vast sum, the adventurous attitude of the first two servants comes as a big surprise. They immediately invest the treasure entrusted to them by the master.

            The parable pictures God as a gambler, one who is forever taking risks in entrusting us with his gifts. He has no guarantee on his return, but that is the risk he takes. There is no guarantee that those he has blessed with intelligence will use it to find human and godly solutions to the problems of our society and our country. Think of the ‘intelligent’ politicians and government officials… Are they really working for the common good? There is no guarantee that those he has blessed with knowledge, expertise and skills in various fields will render them in the service of their fellow human beings, especially the poor. Think of the brilliant professionals – doctors, lawyers, engineers, scientists, researchers, psychiatrists, counselors, IT experts, etc. Are they really working to better the lives of people in accordance to God’s will? Are their services available or accessible to and affordable for the common people? There is no guarantee that those he has blessed with the ability, facility, and aptitude to communicate will use them to spread the Good News of God’s love. Think of the talented media personalities and practitioners… Are they communicating or spreading good news? Indeed, there is no guarantee…

            And this makes us appreciate better the extent or magnitude of the risks that God takes on us. God continues to take risks in entrusting us with his gifts.

            Today’s gospel is reminding us not to bury the gifts that God has given us. To do so is to be a “wicked, lazy servant!” Ouch! We all have some “buried talents” – God-given gifts we have not fully used according to God’s purpose. There is more we could be doing for the kingdom of God, but we think, “Not me. I’m not talented or gifted enough” or “Someone else can do it better that I can” or “God cannot be telling me to do that… I do not have the time, the know-how, the financial resources” or “I am retired now and I have been waiting a long time to finally focus on my own desires.” There is no justification or valid excuse for wasting anything good that God has given us. But sad to say it happens quite often, because we do not realize how necessary our gifts and talents are for the Church and its mission of spreading the Good News of God’s love.

            People who do not take risks end up doing nothing. And people like these are following in the footsteps of the servant who buried his one talent in the ground. It is said, “The real tragedy is not in being limited to one talent, but in the failure to use that one talent.”

            Ang mahalaga ay hindi kung gaano karami ang talento natin kumpara sa iba, kundi kung paano natin ginagamit at pinagyayaman ang mga ito. Yes, we are not equally gifted, but we are equal in one thing: We all have the ability or the talent to let the light of God’s love shine in us and through us.

            The Lord is inviting us to know our strengths, recognize our talents, engage our abilities, use our resources wisely and unselfishly, and develop our capacity to love, to console and to support. Now is the time to open wide our potentials and release our talents into God’s plans!

            Let us end with a prayer: Gracious and loving God, we thank You for all the gifts You have given us. Thank you for the gifts of Your Word, Your power, and Your love. Our hearts are truly overwhelmed when we consider how You have entrusted so much to us. May we be worthy of that trust – may we be people who are unafraid to live as fully and as richly as You want us to live. Amen.                       

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