1 Corinthians 1:26-31
Today’s gospel has an obvious message. We are told not to bury your talents. Whether they are physical abilities, mental agilities, personality traits, whatever, we are called upon to develop our talents and use them for the good of our world and the honor and glory of God.
But there are two extended applications of today’s gospel. First, on the positive side, we are urged to do what we can to help others discover and use their talents. In the words of Benjamin Disraeli, "The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own." It is by words of praise, words of encouragement, and by patient listening that we can help others see their inner goodness and the possibilities life holds out for them because of their gifts.
There is also negative application of the gospel. We are to avoid burying others talents! So often our negative words squelch another’s initiative, stifle their enthusiasm, suffocate their creativity, stomp on their self-image and kill their joy.
Only God knows how many great gifts were never developed, how many great deeds never accomplished because some harping critic buried another’s talent with negative words. And only God know how much good and beauty have come into our world because an industrious and reliable servant took the time and used the right words to enable another to find their talents and help them grow.
When we discover and use our talents, and help others discover and use theirs, great things will happen to us and through us. It will be a happier world. So let us boast. But it is all because God has first gifted us. So, "let him who would boast, boast in the Lord."
Fr. Alan Phillip, C.P. is a member of the Passionist Community at Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California. http://www.alanphillipcp.com/