Prv 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31 / 1 Thes 5:1-6 / Mt 25:14-30 or 25:14-15, 19-21
There’s an old legend that after God finished the creation, all the animals danced about happily, discovering the wonder things their new bodies could do — all, that is, except the birds!
While the other animals had fine legs to run with or big fins to swim with, all the birds had were spindly little legs to hop a few steps with. And what’s more, there were heavy bags of feathers attached to their shoulders.
“Why us?” moaned the birds. “Why do we have to hop, with these heavy weights on our backs, when all the other animals get to run and swim and have fun? Why doesn’t God love us as much as he loves everybody else?” And with that, they sat down and sulked.
After a long time a quiet voice came to them in the breeze. “Unfold that heavy package on your back, open it wide, and wave it in the breeze.” And, somewhat reluctantly, that’s what the birds did. They unfolded those heavy “bags of feathers,” opened them wide and discovered they were wings! They flapped those wings as hard as they could. And in a trice, they were flying, soaring high above all the other animals. And their hearts sang, “God loves us best of all!”
They thought they were poor, but in fact they were very rich indeed!
+ + +
God has blessed each of us with our very own “care package” of special gifts, perfectly fitted to our life’s work at each STAGE of our life. Yet, few of us have ever seen or really trusted in even half the gifts and powers God has put in our hands. And as a result, our lives are poorer and less happy than God ever intended.
Why does this happen? Perhaps because we’re like those birds, who learned how to hop and then thought that was all there was for them — just hopping, forever and ever. They stopped looking and exploring before they got to their best gift.
That’s what we do quite often, sometimes because we’re afraid there’s nothing more IN us, and sometimes because the pressures of life to “do something!” — choose a major, choose a career, choose a mate — cause us to shut our eyes and “floor it,” leaving some of our best gifts untouched and unseen, and that means leaving us without some of the essential tools we need to build a whole life. Imagine trying to build a house without a hammer or a saw!
God wants happy lives for us. That’s why he gave us so many gifts, so many good tools. In Sunday’s Gospel, he’s asking us to take another look at what he’s given us: Have we really seen it all? Are we using it all? If not, we’re literally stealing happy lives from ourselves and from those who love us. Jesus is begging us not to let that happen.
Listen to him. Take another look: You’ll be amazed at the gold mine you’ve been sitting on all these years! You’ll be amazed, and God will be so pleased!