"Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master's joy" (Mt 25: 20-21). What is Jesus teaching us in the parable of the talents? God has granted us gifts according to our abilities for the sole purpose of serving others. We are stewards of all the gifts we have, both natural and supernatural. Gifts of time, wealth, virtues, service, and other gifts of various forms are generously bestowed on us as a church to equip us for our mission to the world. The talents in this Sunday's gospel refer to gifts, among others, meant to bear fruits that benefit people needing help, both at home and abroad.
Of particular importance to Jesus is to use our God-given gifts to serve the needs of people experiencing poverty. The gift of charity and mercy shows in our selfless giving in support of the poor and the needy (c.f. Proverbs 31: 20) that abound today. This primary global scourge of poverty and misery is the inspiration behind Pope Francis' designation of this Sunday as "World Day of the Poor." In his Apostolic Letter, Misericordia et Misera, the vicar of Christ wrote that "It will be a day that will help communities and each baptized person to reflect on how poverty is at the heart of the Gospel, and on the fact that as long as Lazarus lies at the door of our homes (cf. Lk 16: 19-21), there can be no justice or social peace" (21). God has given many and sufficient numbers of people in our world talents of wealth to serve the financially less privileged others.
I want to highlight how our parish has lived up to this call to use our resources to help others. Let's consider, for example, our response to the Angels of Hope giving- we have fruitfully used our talents to support this charity giving. Thanks to all who have been generous in providing. Another area is with the DAC giving. Thanks to those who have used their resources and talents to support this good course. I can also point to the generous giving to St Vincent de Paul and "the Poor Box in the narthex." These are just a few ways we, as a parish, have responded to the call to use our talents. There are more. There are other ways we have been using our God-given talents to serve the church.
I also want to add that other forms of talent must be placed at the church's disposal. The survey I encouraged you to fill out a couple of weeks ago also requires you to indicate the areas in which you are talented or gifted to serve the church. Please see this as coming from Jesus. He wants you to use all your talents to serve his church of St. Peter, Elizabethtown. When we use our talents holily, we are confident of heavenly reward when, at the end of our life, Jesus says to us, "Come, share your master's joy."
Let me use this opportunity to wish us all a Happy Thanksgiving. We must always show gratitude to God for all the talents he continues to rain down on us. Above all, God is the one to whom we render thanks. With this understanding, I hope we all turn out in large numbers with our family to attend mass at the Historic Church on Thanksgiving Day.
In His Joy,
Fr. Alayode Bernard Oniwe, OP