Gifts and Talents: The light of our community


Gifts and Talents: The light of our community

In this Sunday’s readings we hear about faith and being prepared. It’s not enough to just say the words “I am ready”. We need to prepare ourselves to be ready; and before that, we need to have complete faith that there is something to be ready for. We read about faith in the Letter to the Hebrews, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval.” (Hebrews 11. 1-2) It can be so difficult to keep the faith, especially when we are challenged. And the more we work on our relationship with God and our spirituality, the more likely we are to experience these times of challenge including the feeling that God is not with us. However, as shared in the letter, faith assures us that we can come through these times; and so, we must be prepared for them throughout our lives.

One of the preparatory instructions we are given is to have our lamps always lit. Why would this be? I believe that by having our lamps lit, we see more clearly. This is important so that we can see and recognize God in our lives; and while God is always there, we aren’t always paying attention. Having our lamps lit will also help us to recognize the evil one; this may be even more important. Satan will disguise himself so that we don’t know he is there. He will show up and hide in happy times, he will look like success and opportunity. He will hide in our possessions as they become more important to us than our relationships. Jesus warns the disciples about their possessions. While it is true, we need to have some possessions to live, this isn’t what God is talking to us about. He is talking about becoming obsessed with having things that take our attention away from our community and God himself. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Yet, the lamp not only helps us to see, but it also helps those around us, in other words, our lamps are the way we can help others know God.

If people were always prepared, there would be no reason for Jesus to share this caution with the people. He knows there will be those in the communities of his followers that will not be prepared for several reasons. They might not know God yet, they may be in a dark night of the soul, or maybe they have become distracted by earthly things. As with all things, we are better when we are in community, collaborating with each other. It will be up to all of us to make sure that we all see clearly, God and those against God. With a community full of light, how could anything evil hide among us?

In God’s infinite wisdom, we have all received unique lamps. We will be most prepared by having many tools at our disposal. As I have mentioned before, one of the most important things I have learned in my Oblate formation is that our gifts do not belong to us alone, but to our entire community. My gifts and talents belong to you, and yours to me.

And so how is our lamp it’s brightest? For all of us, it is at its brightest when we are using the gifts and talents given to us by God, especially to serve others. When we all come together, with our lamps lit, looking out for each other, we will be the most successful and the most prepared. We need only to have faith that it will happen.

By Serena Shaw
Vocation Team – Oblate Associate
Phone: (780) 231-3066