11/19/17 – Make the Most of Every Opportunity

So, I’m going to speculate today. I’m no theologian or bible scholar, and while there is so much concretely packed into today’s readings, I’m going to speculate on something in the Gospel today. I know that this can throw some of you off, but bear with me.

The parable of the talents. One of my favorites.

Most people, when they read this Gospel reflect on “burying our talents”, so to speak and not using the gifts that God gave us to help others. And that is a valid theme.

But why do we do this?  Look at the servant in question today, the third one. He didn’t try to make money on the money he was given, he simply buried it in the ground until his master returned. Why?

Later in the parable, when his master returns the third servant says:

“Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.” 

He clearly did not like his master. How many of us have not liked a person of authority over us – a boss, or a government official, or someone else we knew because we thought they were doing things wrong and not being honest?

What if they entrusted you with something, to do something – maybe with money, or a certain task? What would you do? Or, what have you done in this situation?

On top of this, the third servant may have been jealous. He was only given one talent. The others were given five, and two, respectively. And so the third servant already had resentment towards the master, and now he felt slighted even more?  Why did the others get more, perhaps he asked himself? And so perhaps he thought, “well I’m not going to do anything with the one he gave me. I will show him!”

And so, there’s another lesson here. A deeper lesson, at least in my opinion. Yes, we are to use our various gifts that God gave us. But so often we’re looking to use them doing great things! Magnificent things!  Perhaps this third servant had skills above and beyond the other two, and he could have not only doubled the money given to him, but maybe increased it five or tenfold. And then his demanding master would have seen this and been so pleased that perhaps he would have given the servant unimaginable things.

But instead this servant had resentment and jealousy and then as we all know and love about this Gospel, he simply buried the money and did not use the gifts he had been given. But that is the symptom.

The real crux of this situation is why he did it?

Anger. Resentment. Jealousy. Now we’re getting somewhere. Now we can apply it to today’s world and our situations.

How often do we not do something, and not use our talents, the gifts that God has blessed us with because of the anger, resentment, or jealousy that is in our hearts? How many times do we say:

Well, I’m not going to help my co-worker because he just got a raise and a promotion that I deserved, even if I can really help him.

Or, I’m not going to do something my boss asked, because they are simply mean!

And lastly, and strap on your seatbelts for this one, I don’t like this [INSERT GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL NAME HERE] And so rather than step up to use my gifts to make a difference in society, to foster change, to bring awareness in whatever way that is, I’m simply going to complain and rant and attack the very negativity I hate with negativity! 

Or even in our daily correspondence, rather than engage in positive dialog and debate we criticize and attack because it doesn’t go along with our way of thinking, how we think things should be.

How many times do we hear this?  How many times do we say this?  Yes, so often we bury our talents and don’t use the gifts we’ve been given. But the bottom line is really that so often we only want to use those gifts for great things, for great recognition, and so often when we don’t because of anger, resentment, or jealousy, or perhaps fear. Perhaps fear transcends all of those.

How many times do we get angry at our Master – God – because he appears to give some people more, who we maybe think don’t deserve it, and others less, who seem to deserve it on the surface. How often do we have resentment towards Him because we feel He has given us less? How often do we lash out at God out of anger because of our circumstances in life, rather than reach up to Him to help us?

So often God gives us His love through the gifts He gives us, through those little, barely recognizable opportunities, and frequently because of pride and resentment we do nothing and simply say to Him, ‘You can have Your Love back… I didn’t want to cultivate it. I didn’t want to grow it. Here, you can have it back.’

Now we’re getting somewhere…

Search your thoughts and feelings – we’ve all thought this. I know I’ve felt this way at times, and not done things nor used my gifts because of this mindset. I know I’m not alone.

We’ve got to address the deep-down issues within us – and look at the why – and let Christ into our soul to transform us and root out these weeds if we ever truly want to be able to use the gifts that God gave us to truly make a difference in the world and people’s lives.

We know what to do. The answer is to make the best with what we’ve got, and the opportunities we have been given, great or small. Regardless who is in authority, we set our feelings aside and do the right thing, because deep down, we have integrity, because if we use our gifts in any situation, something good for God will always come from it.

And then you know what?  We can increase the good that God has given us by five or tenfold, and though He is demanding, He will reward us with unimaginable gifts forever, in Heaven.

That is our true reward, and that is our true purpose.

Today’s readings for Mass


About the Author

My name is Joe LaCombe, and I am a web developer/writer in the Indianapolis, Indiana area in the USA. My amazing wife Kristy and I have been married for 17 years and we have an awesome little man, Joseph, who is in 2nd Grade! We are members of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Carmel, Indiana where we volunteer with numerous ministries mainly focused on marriage and family. I simply love to write, and have been writing for A Catholic Moment since 2014. Whether it’s on this website, my personal blog(The Lesser Road), or in my journal – writing is a form of prayer for me, and I love to share it with others, especially as it relates to God’s Word and everyday life. In recent years, as I’ve journeyed through life’s ups and downs, I have sought to deepen my relationship with Christ through a greater understanding of what it means to be Catholic, a strengthening of my prayer life, and fraternity with other men in my parish. And in fact, as often comes out in my writings, this is a personal mission I have right now – to be as strong a Catholic man, husband, and father as I can be in the world today and to be a living example for my son in this regard, and through the process, lead others to Christ with me. Personally, I love to run and be out in the nature that God created, though I don’t get out near as much as I should it seems. I find a deep spirituality in running, and I see distinct parallels between running and spirituality and life. I am excited and extremely blessed to be able to contribute to this website and look forward to sharing my thoughts and experiences!

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  1. Hi Joe,
    I’ve been looking for guidance on how to go about with my life when I retire. Am so glad i discovered your spiritual words of wisdom. Great job! Thank you😊

  2. Hi!
    I was reading your reflection during the homily delivered in Thai. Since I understand only English I find ways to help myself understand better todays Gospel mesage. Thànk you so mch for sharing your prayer. I will remember you and your ministry in my prayers. Lets be united in the table of the Lord in every Eucahristic celebration.

  3. Thank you so much Joe for reminding us that we are just servants and slaves of our Lord Jesus. He is the one we are serving and giving the glory in all that we have, we are and we will be doing and not this world or our selves.

  4. Hey Joe,

    I do like your take on today’s Gospel (tomorrow’s).

    But think of the third servant from a different view. Not from gifts. From discipleship. And discipleship that has the master that was gone for “a long time”.

    The third servant knows his master, yet he doesn’t follow his ways.

    What the third servants motives are don’t matter, his actions do. In other words, you say you are a Christian, you go to church every Sunday, do all the sacraments, follow all the “rules”, you are going through the motions. You’ve done the minimum.

    That is not enough.

    Look at what the servant did. Did the servant do anything wrong? No. Yet the servant is thrown “into the darkness outside”. Why?

    Because the servant wasn’t a disciple.


  5. Hi Joe! Thank you for the perspective you gave today’s gospel. It was truly inspiring. God bless you.

  6. Thanks Joe for revealing what you have called out ‘the real crus ‘ as to why we sometimes don’t make the most of every opportunity just because of our resentment , jealousy,anger etc . We should see beyond these and do Gods will ….I shall deeply address the deep issues and seek God to transform my soul….thank you

  7. Thank you Joe. Jesus will always get to the root of our problems if we allow Him in. He will give me awareness of these root issues. Your reflection helped me ask myself these hard questions. Glory to God who is all loving.

  8. Thanks for this message. My health has made me unable to do all the things I would have loved. Now I realise that rather than worrying about this and sulking, I should do the little I can for the greatest good.

  9. Amen! How easy it is for us to look at our situation and compare it to others and be dissatisfied. How challenging it is to look at what we have been given from our heavenly boss’s perspective and go the extra mile for Him. Share more love, more mercy and forgiveness. Thanks Joe for the insight on this message from Jesus.

  10. Thx very much for the insightful reading !It does inspire us all to keep trying & sharing what gifts we have. May God bless you & your family!:)

  11. Thank you for this beautiful reflection. It is has been a eye – opener for me. God bless you and your ministry as you continue touching the lives of those in distress and by your teaching make life more meaningful and fruitful.

  12. Yours is a very wonderful gift Joe. Its good that you have been sharing it with us and will continue to do so. May God bless you and you family.

    Thanks for being so kind to us

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