How could we sum up the good news of salvation in one sentence? Just imagine Jesus visiting each one of us and saying: ‘You are extraordinarily talented!’ Let us imagine, how this would change for good the life of a kid, a teenager, or an adult with low self-esteem. Think of a low achieving child in the classroom; or someone ignored in the workplace. ‘You are extraordinarily talented!’ This positive encouragement would bring to fruition all our gifts, of which we are even not aware of.
Actually, Jesus tells each of us, ‘you are extraordinarily talented’, in a different sense. The parable of the talents draws our attention to this very fact. We are given the extraordinary gift of being a Christian! God, as we read in Matthew’s Gospel, ‘summoned his servants and entrusted his property to them.’ (Matthew 25:14) Each one of us are given talents, according to our ability. This is such good news. There is a part of the Kingdom of God, which can flourish only through your work. We are needed, individually, to bring its life to fruition, where we are, right now.
Let us think about this chance. With these tasks we are given a ray of God’s inner, eternal life. Without this Christian task we would be lacking in spiritual power. We would be left to ourselves; we would know nothing of the unseen world. Marked by ‘God’s talents’, however, our soul has a talent to heavenly things, an inclination to love. ‘Sir, you entrusted me with five talents; here are five more that I have made.’ See, we are never lost in life, we are never lost in the Kingdom of Heaven if our source is our Lord’s love for us: ‘you are extraordinarily talented!’
The destiny of the lazy servant is heartbreaking. He buried his gifts for the sake of something else. He thinks that he lives, but in God’s sight he is dead. There is no life in his response either. It is only a cheap self-excuse, not even worth considering. He refused to be the partner and the image of God. And his punishment is deeply symbolic. If people forget that they are talented (tasked by God, employed by God), as a corporate act, it has fatal consequences. John Henry Newman's inviting his listeners at the time to opt for the life of the soul is equally timing today. He called for facing the opposite alternative when he said: ‘Now reflect on the terrible state of the world in detail.’
But today, let us reflect on the beauty and goodness, which we can bring about. I have a photo in front of me, as an illustration. This is the decoration of the wall in Rugrat's Nursery on 'Graduation Day', when the 5 year old leave. On that day, the little ones, are told the same Gospel-sentence, in their own language: 'go, you are extraordinarily talented!' And they leave, for year one, and embark on life's journey to prove their talents.
Let us think and pray about the situations, places, persons, those particular parts of the Kingdom of God, which are waiting for our talents to be acted out. Remember, what he said? ‘You are extraordinarily talented.’ And now in the words of the Gospel he repeats it in these words: ‘Well done, god and faithful servant; you have shown you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master’s happiness.’
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..