33rd SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
‘I hid your talent’
‘It isn’t the thing you do dear,
it’s the thing you leave undone,
which gives you a bit of heartache
at the setting of the sun’.
These lines from the poem ‘Sin of Omission’ by American poet Margaret Sangster rhymes perfectly with the parable of the talents in today’s Gospel. The poet goes on to chide us gently by mentioning the tender word we failed to utter, the letter we should have written; the stone we could have lifted; the acts of kindness we might have performed. The servant in the Gospel who buried his talent committed the sin of omission. He was a cautious man, lacking ambition, courage and confidence. His failure to take a risk calls to mind the old adage: ‘if you are careful enough nothing bad or good will ever happen to you’. The Christian must be prepared to take risks in building up God’s kingdom. It’s a question of using our gifts creatively to make His face seen and His voice heard. We are all gifted differently, but the gifts must be nurtured. ‘The artist is nothing without the gift; the gift is nothing without the work’ (Emile Zola). No talent can survive the blight of neglect. Hell is full of the talented! It’s worth noting that the other two servants in the parable are rewarded for being ‘faithful in small things’. In the fourth century, St. John Chrysostom proclaimed that ‘faithfulness in little things is a big thing’. There is nothing small in the service of God. ‘Little things on little wings bear little souls to heaven’. That is what the poet wrote two hundred years ago. That is what Jesus taught two thousand years ago.