33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time A

Every year I teach each grade in the school a bible story.  I choose the Parable of the Talents for the fifth grade so we can talk about leadership.  We always give the servants names and it makes it more fun.  So this year it was Harold who had five talents and made another five.  Jeffe (I don’t know why but they spelled it for me) had two talents and made another two.  And then there was poor Mario, who buried his talent.

And for as long as I have been doing this, they always complain that Mario did nothing wrong.  And I would argue with them but I finally realized that this many years of fifth graders cannot be wrong.  I bet many of you feel the same way.  I conceded.  Mario did nothing wrong.  And that brought me back to trying out for the Junior High basketball team in Locust Valley.

It was the day before cuts and I was asking my friend Tom DellaVechia how he thought it went.  He said well and he asked me what I thought.  I told him I felt good because I had not made any mistakes.  He said to me, “But what you have done well.”  The next day I got cut.

Now our coach had told us that if we were cut and wanted another chance, we could ask for one.  With all the moxie I could muster, I asked if I could continue my try out. Months later he told me that no player had ever taken him up on his offer.  Now my jump shot was not going to improve in those couple of days and I was not going to jump higher.  All I could do was give my best. If the ball was rolling on the ground, I would be on the ground. If there were sprints after practice, I would win them regardless of not being the fastest.  And sure enough, when the final roster was posted, there were sixteen names in roster and Bob Longobucco written in pencil beneath them all.

It is funny how something like that can have an impact on you the rest of your life.  Since that time, I have tried to dive for every loose ball in my life.  I have vowed to try harder and give my best to what I do.   I want to do the very best with what God has given me.

Mario did nothing wrong. But ours is not a religion of not doing anything wrong.  It is about doing our best.  It is about knowing how blessed we are and sharing those blessings is our mission.  A talent is a huge amount of money, perhaps as much as 15 years’ worth of wages.  Yet, aren’t you not far more blessed?  Think of how many people and reasons of giving thanks you have in your life.  You will likely find that you have thousands of talents.  We are loved so that we might be lovers.  We are blessed so as to bless.

You have not had a good Fr. Pat like challenge in a long time; well since Fr. Pat left.  I will give you one.  Next weekend, look back on the week and think of the time you did something with your talents; some way you were different because you are blessed by God.  Will you spend an hour you could not afford with someone who sought your help or needed your ear?  Will you stand up for someone put down?  Will you go where you are needed even if you do not have to be there?  Then you will multiply your blessings.  You will be Harold and Jeffe.  Then you will share your master’s joy!