Does God Have Favorites?

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Word Alive — Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD / November 19, 2023

33rdh Sunday in Ordinary Time – A

When I studied at the SVD theological seminary in Tagaytay, we had an exceptionally bright seminarian. In class when the professor was lecturing, he would make sketches on his notebook, seemingly unmindful of what the mentor was saying.

When examinations came, he would get a perfect or near perfect score! Not surprisingly, he graduated with highest honors.

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We do have other people with extraordinary talents and gifts like our own greatest boxer, Manny Pacquiao. Filipina beauties have won in international competitions; Filipinos are known worldwide for singing talents.

We might be tempted to ask, “Why am I not blessed with extraordinary skills and exceptional talents?” Does God have favorites?

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The Parable of the Talents (Mt 25, 14-30) in this 33rd Sunday gospel gives us an answer. It tells us that God does give different gifts to everyone. One receives 5 talents (a currency during Jesus’ time), another 2, and another 1. Just why there is inequality of talents is a mystery. But wouldn’t it be boring if everybody were all geniuses and mega stars? Or, if all were beauty queens, nobody around would admire and clap their hands.

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There is, indeed, inequality and everybody gets sufficient qualities to work with. It does not matter how many talents one has, but HOW one uses them. For instance, a multi-millionaire enriched himself with his business sharp acumen but he did it through illegal means.

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The man in the parable who received one talent was not condemned because he had only one, rather because he buried the 1 talent in the ground and failed to use it. Jesus said, “He could have invested the little he had and showed the little profit when the master came home.”

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Christ’s Parable of the Talents also teaches us ACCOUNTABILITY. We will render an accounting of our gifts, whether that is a material wealth, a lofty position or an inborn skill before the Lord when He comes to judge us.

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ASK YOURSELF: Do I use my talents for the good of people, or only for my own benefit and enjoyment? Give thanks to God for your talents, but don’t forget to share its fruits with the less fortunate.

“To whom much is given, much is expected” (Luke 12,48).

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Let me conclude with the words of renowned writer Grantland Rice, “For when the Great Scorer comes to write against your name, He writes—not that you won or lost—but HOW you played the game.”

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THE LIGHTER SIDE. Once a professor, known for his sarcastic remarks, picked on a slow-witted student. “Jun, where were you when God was distributing brains?” The whole class laughed.

Regaining his composure, Jun countered, “Sir, didn’t you know? Magkatabi lang tayo!” (We were just beside each other!). Everybody roared against their nasty mentor.

LESSON: Don’t look down on others. They may be more gifted than you.

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