The Blessings of God’s Gifts

November 19, 2017

Investing what we have been given is an important dimension to the parable Jesus tells this weekend in the Gospel.  So often we see some of the challenges of our lives as obstacles and hurdles.  We look at what holds us back.  God is the giver of the gifts.  God is the one handing out the belief and trust by offering us, just as we are, the opportunity to invest in eternal life.  As each one received the various amounts of talents in the parable, each had to evaluate what one would do with what was given.  Each had to decide, even if what was received was different from what others were given, to invest that which was received as gift.  God entrusts us with blessings.  God entrusts us with belief.  Character comes from how we invest what we have been given.  So often times we see the talents as what helps us be successful as the world sees success.  What has been entrusted to us is so much different.  On the journey of the way of the cross we reflect on how Jesus not only carried the burden of our sins, but His true character shone through by His perseverance, by His speaking to the woman of Jerusalem and His mother.  It shone through by the acceptance of help from Simon.  All of this reveals the character of this Son of God who is fully human and fully divine.

As I see what has been entrusted to me in my life, I take time to reflect on the situation of my eyesight.  It has been a journey.  I could choose to reflect on how it kept me from seeing a baseball better as a child and how it may have been the cause for my failure to become a great hitter at the plate.  I could see it as a burden that prevented me from experiencing clarity of sight when I would like to have it.  Yet, it is a treasure I am called to invest in.  Early on in the 80s, when I had my first corneal transplants, one into each eye, I was offered hope of a better tomorrow.  I was young and took it for granted.  I realized it would get better and I could get back to life as I knew it.  In this past year I see the same surgery differently.  It was a vulnerability that allowed me to move from my self-centered “I-can-conquer-this” attitude to one of relying on God, St. Lucy and the community of St. Anne.  It was not easy to move from self-reliance to being reliant on others.  The healing process was slow, yet incredible.  The gift and blessing for me was realizing I was not in this alone.  Others came to the rescue, others provided wheels, meals and support.  Investing in this gift prevented me from taking for granted the gift that has been given.

Today’s parable is about the placing of talents in the lives of the recipient.  Too often we think talent refers to the things we are good at.  The real investment is not that.  Real character and the true self gets revealed when we realize the gift is so much different.  The most difficult and challenging things in our lives are the true gifts.  They help us realize our reliance on God and one another.  As we get ready for Thanksgiving, I am thankful to all of you for showing me love, support and the power of prayer.  While this will not be the last eye surgery I will ever have, it is one that has taught me so much about God’s love for me.  Investing in this, I can now share a new hope and confidence with others.

May the blessings of God find us in prayer for one another.

Reverend John J. Ouper