Well Done, Keep Going
The Gospel for this Sunday (Matt 25:14-30) is a parable encouraging us to use whatever talents we have, no matter how small or trivial they might seem. While we are still on Level 5 of the battle against Covid 19, we need all the encouragement we can get. We accept restrictions on our movements and gatherings. Sometimes it’s annoying. But others are making sacrifices for our sake so why can’t I do the same for others.
Well done, good and faithful servants, all who carefully observe the Health and Safety guidelines, not just to protect yourself but to protect other people. Well done, all of you who keep on praying and helping others
The parable of the talents is a contrast between the productive life and the unproductive life. The productive person is faithful in the little things of everyday life … keeps on going …doesn’t look for notice … doesn’t wait around for the big event to get going. Artists know that perfection is composed of trifles, but perfection itself is no trifle. Jesus said that the productive life is good and faithful.
A hole in the ground
The parable then turns to the servant who made no use of his talent. He is described as good for nothing. Look at what he did with his talent. He dug a hole in the ground and hid it. This is a very suggestive image. A person who buries a talent digs not just a hole but a cesspool of cynicism and negativity. See how negative and cynical he has become. He does not blame himself. He offloads blame to what others are saying. He even uses his fear of the master’s severe reputation as an excuse for doing nothing. It’s always some other person’s fault, never mine.
A healthy lake needs a steady inflow and outflow. Otherwise it becomes stagnant. When somebody’s talents are not used there will be no healthy stimulation or spiritual inspiration. Instead, there will be hours spent every day in television passivity, internet addiction or waste of brain power on vapid reading. In the stagnant cesspool, cynicism takes over. And cynicism, as the parable says, is good for nothing. What the unproductive servant lacked was faithfulness in little things. Faithfulness in little things is what keeps the flow fresh. In God’s eyes no good action is small. The two productive servants are praised because they were faithful in small things.
Saint Teresa of Calcutta was sometimes criticised on the grounds that what she was doing was only a drop in the ocean and that she was covering up for the Governments and other major organizations for the lack of necessary structural changes. But she would repeat her motto to do the little thing with a lot of love. A candle is a small light, but if everybody lit a candle, what a bright world it would be.
Isn’t it grand to hear God compliment people for their faithful service. I’m sure every one of us would love to hear God say to us at the end of life, “Well done, good and faithful servant”.
Examination of Conscience
Where I walk or work, where I play or pray
In the little acre of God that I till
Is there anybody less hungry because I am there?
As we reflect on the parable of the talents, we pray.
Thank you, Lord, for the gifts and talents that you have given us … the gift of life, the gift of family and friends, the good example of people, the people who serve us and provide for us each day.
Thank you for the talents of what we are good at and what we can do.
Remove from our hearts any unhealthy sort of fear that would paralyse us from doing anything. Open up our hearts to trust in the support of the Holy Spirit at all times.
Remove from our minds all cynicism, negativity and envy. Help us to rejoice in admiration of the talents of other people.
Help us to be faithful to the little acts of kindness that help others every day.
May we take to heart the message of Saint Teresa of Calcutta, to do the little thing with a lot of love.
Br Silvester O’Flynn OFM Cap.