Lectio Divina: 2020-11-13

Our Lectio Divina for this Friday corresponds to the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

Mt 25: 14-30 You have been faithful in small things; come and join in your master’s happiness

One

I have read this parable many times since I had my first spiritual awakening in 1981, and am often left feeling discouraged. Once again my attention zeroed in on the servant with one talent who buried it because he was afraid, and then my thoughts wandered to the spiritual greats who seem to have unshakeable faith. I wonder what it must be like to have that kind of courage and commitment. This is dangerous territory for me and I don’t serve God well when I am comparing myself to others. God has given me my own unique gifts to serve him. He wants me to accept myself and what he is creating in me, and my part in the body of Christ. No one else can do what he is asking of me.

Dear Lord remind me:

‘God alone knows the secret plan
Of the things he will do for the world
Using my hand’

Toyohiko Kagawa

Two

‘He gave to each one according to his ability.’ This Gospel reminds me that God has given me talents. He has not given me more than I can cope with but has given me what I am capable of. He has also given me free will so it is up to me whether or not I do the best with my talents or leave them unused.

I can compare this to the times when I have known and still do know, people who have great talents such as art or poetry or other creative ability and don’t use it because they haven’t the time. I always think it is a waste and such a shame that the wonderful gift they have been given is not used. Is that me? Do I even know what my talents are? Some people never know their skills, their talents because they have never discovered them. Some people say “I couldn’t do that” but have never tried. Some talents are latent in people and only discovered much later in life because they have never tried or taken the time to find out. Is that me? There must be more God wants me to do with my talents. I pray that God will give me the will and the ability to know my talents and to do with them what He wants me to do. Not only to use them but to use them to the best of my ability.

God bless you all and keep you save from covid 19.

Three

This reading made me think about what gifts or “talents” am I blessed with and how do I use them in serving God and others. We have all been given different gifts but the important message for me is how do we use them? Christians are entrusted to care for and grow God’s kingdom and by using our God given talents there are so many ways that we can do this. We each have a responsibility to ensure this happens.

Which of the slaves am I?

Of course I would like to think that I was one of the first two who increased their talents but much of me can be seen in the third slave. It is easy to “play safe” to not risk anything, to be secure. Sometimes we are afraid to step out of our comfort zone because of fear, low self esteem or self worth. Not being good enough. This is where faith comes along – God is with us and ………

” I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13

I have been given the free will to choose how I live my life but one day I will be accountable for everything I have or haven’t done.

I have included a poem by Mary Oliver as the final words ask the important question –

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver

Four

What an amazing reading today. The words that jumped out were ‘ so I was afraid ‘. As I read through, it highlighted even more what a robber fear is! It steals people’s purpose and takes their confidence. God tells me again and again to look to him not fear. Even this morning as I woke up I felt fearful thoughts coming in however I quickly remembered what God said, that he has me in the palm of his hand, that he never leaves me, that he is my provider. I have heard it said ‘ Don’t talk to God about the problem, talk to the problem about God. ‘ I’m determined today to keep my focus on Gods ability not on mine.

He is always working, strengthening, helping, blessing even if in the natural I can’t see anything going on, all of a sudden there will be an answer!

God bless you all and the God of abounding, healing love will hold you in his arms, for he knows the thoughts and plans he has for us, plans to make us prosper, not disaster, reserving a future full of hope.

Five

Today’s Lectio made me think deeply about wasted opportunities. God gives us all unique gifts and we must use those gifts as God wishes.

It doesn’t matter what gifts we are given, but it matters what we do with our gift. When I was eighteen I used visit a lady called Auntie Lilah who was in her eighties. She was infirm and almost bedridden, but each week she prayed for those on the prayer list. Many prayers were answered Auntie Lilah reminded me of the parable, how she used her gift through God to help so many.

We must not be afraid to use our talents and we shouldn’t compare our gifts with others. We are all parts of one body in Christ. God wants us to share what we have received. To ‘bury ‘ or hide our gifts may lead to personal sorrow and regret.

Christ needs us in this troubled world to share our gifts to help one another.
In the words of St Teresa of Avila

“ Christ has no body now but yours.
No hands, no feet on earth but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which he looks to show compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good “

Keep well and safe .

Six

V19=After a long TIME the master of those servants returned. It made me think of the statement’ Tide and time wait for no man’. All I know is that the more time I spend in the Lord’s presence the more my soul is at rest. I have to learn to live and respond to his grace in the here and now. I have to surrender now to God’s love for me. I have really missed the Church worship but it has given me the opportunity to spend time in silence. In that silence I have become aware of the powerful and loving realisation that God is with me NOW. Time is so precious and we have the opportunity to say yes to God’s presence in our lives. I hope to spend more time in his presence because he is great company.

Keep safe and keep praying.

Seven

The words for me today seem to be: “according to their ability”

Strangely, I have never focused on these words in this parable before. Receiving them now they bring some consolation from God and some understanding and acceptance of myself. They are also very timely as these days, when I keep being told to use the gifts I have been given (without knowing what they are, exactly), I constantly pray to the Lord to allow this to happen.

The talents now are not the ones noted in my teenage years which, I have always reflected with sadness, never really “took off” as might have been expected.

I will just pray: Lord, fan into a flame the gifts you have given to each of us for your glory and the up-building of your family. In these special times, anoint those you have called and chosen with your power, your ability, your strength so that your people will know you are truly present among us and will be until the end of the age. Above all, pour out upon us amazing love of you and of all people; let this love bathe us constantly, in clear streams of grace keeping us all-in -one and one-in -all close to your innermost heart.

Eight

Many years ago I had an insight which I did not act on. Was it a gift from God, a talent, five talents? I have regretted it ever since, beaten myself up, endured weeping and grinding of teeth. I don’t think it is God who sends us to a place of weeping and grinding of teeth, it is ourselves. God is with us in our regret. I pray that next time I have an insight I will act on it.

Nine

Most of Jesus’ parables are figurative, but this one is fairly literal.
They are going up to Jerusalem. He is the Master, about to go away for some time, and his followers are entrusted to carry on the mission, to spread the good news, while he is away.
So are we.

On his return they will be called to account.

So will we be.

Their talents are varied and some have more than others.

Likewise with us.

We are to exercise our talents or they will be taken away. That’s not unfair – it’s our choice to develop them or let them wither.

“Use it or lose it” is the modern expression.

Lessons for me are:

  • Don’t be over-modest – recognise what I can offer, and develop it.
  • Listen to what others tell me about what is useful in what I say and do. They may see me more clearly than I see myself.
  • Tell others what their talents are – they may not know, or suppress their awareness under false modesty. Like Barnabas, be an encourager – give courage. [Or if you prefer the Germanic root, en-hearten]

Blessings

Ten

‘each in proportion to his ability’

For me, like I guess for many of us, the aim, when the time comes, is that Our Lord can say to me: ‘Come and join in my happiness, for you have been faithful and good.’ He has trusted me with some gifts, I don’t want to let Him down, would I be ready?

Some time ago, while leading an adult session about the Holy Spirit’ Gifts and Fruits, I did a little exercise which consisted of, in a first moment, considering which talents the participants thought they had, and then consider the gifts each one saw in the others. The result was surprising, none identified in themselves the gifts others saw. Perhaps all of us are a mixture of both.

The Lord trust each one of us with gifts according to our abilities, capacities. Which one is/are mine? I have always thought of myself to be a ‘Jack of all trades’, good at many little things and master in none. At that point came to me my maternal grandma, Candida, a person of great faith, who endured alone very difficult times, a civil war and post-war, with 8 children. And she never complain of anything, always happy with what God gave her. Or my mum, Lina, who lives alone with a deteriorating memory, who doesn’t fear the future by putting herself in the Lord’ hands. These are for me two examples of formidable, though quotidian gifts.

In the end, big or small talents is what we do with them what matters. I believe that doing what we do best with love and for Our Lord is what counts. Not all of us are called to be shiny starts, nevertheless, great or small, we are all needed for the good functioning of the Body of Christ.

What does mean for me today then? I think in the difficult circumstances we live nowadays is just the time to show that fear and anxiety can’t bury what the Lord entrusted me with, and that I must trust in Him and love to the best of my abilities/ talents for the benefit of others.

Please, Holy Spirit send your holy Gifts to each one of us for the service of the Kingdom and give us the strength to use them properly. Amen

I share here one of my favourite Hymns, I consider quite appropriate for this Gospel.

God forgave my sin in Jesus’ name.
I’ve been born again in Jesus’ name
And in Jesus’ name I come to you
To share his love as he told me to.

He said ‘Freely, freely you have received; freely, freely give.
Go in my name, and because you believe others will know that I live.

All pow’r is giv’n in Jesus’ name
in earth and heav’n in Jesus name
And in Jesus’ name I come to you
To share his pow’r as he told me to.

He said ‘Freely, freely you have received; freely, freely give.
Go in my name, and because you believe others will know that I live.

God gives us life in Jesus’ name
he lives in us in Jesus’ name
And in Jesus’ name I come to you
To share his peace as he told me to.