1) Chance-taking adventurous voyagers. Columbus trusted his maps and calculations, considered his risks and sailed off to India – only to encounter the “new world.” Magellan based his charts and maps on the most current information then available, and boldly circumnavigated the globe. A few centuries later in their search for a Northwest Passage, Lewis and Clark set off, crossed the entire North American continent and explored the nation. All these explorers had at least one thing in common. They all based their momentous journeys on maps that were mostly inaccurate, hopelessly flawed or vastly mistaken. Yet each of these adventurers went ahead, accepted the risks, plunged into unknown territories, mapped them, and changed the world. It is precisely because of their risk-taking that the face of the planet was re-drawn and the dreams of future generations were re-shaped. Those without the vision, without the courage to take risks, are quick to label others as crazy, crackpots, fools, and failures. In the parable of the talents this week, Jesus gives a stern warning — discipleship does not promise complete safety. On the contrary, true disciples are called to take risks and venture beyond the known and the secure. . (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/
2) Play it safe: There is an old story about two farmers visiting over a fence in early Spring. “Jake,” the first one said, “What are you going to plant this year, corn?” “Nope,” Jake replied, “scared of the corn borer.” “Well, what about potatoes?” his neighbor asked. “Nope, too much danger of potato bugs,” announced Jake. The neighbor pressed on, “Well, then, what are you going to plant?” Jake answered, “Nothing! I’m going to play it safe.” In today’s Gospel Jesus tells the story of a lazy servant, like Jake, who buried his talent instead of doing business with it. . (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/
3) The man who did not bury his talent: Antonio Stradivari was born in Cremona, Italy, in 1644. Because Antonio’s voice was high and squeaky, he did not pass the audition for the Cremona Boys’ Choir. When he took violin lessons, the neighbors persuaded his parents to make him stop. Yet Antonio still wanted to make music. His friends made fun of him because his only talent was wood-carving. When Antonio was 22, he became an apprentice to a well-known violinmaker, Nicholas Amati. Under his master’s training Antonio’s knack for carving grew, and his hobby became his craft. He started his own violin shop when he was 36. He worked patiently and faithfully. By the time he died at 93, he had built over 1,500 violins, each one bearing a label that read, “Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis Faciebat Anno……” (“Antonio Stradivarius of Cremona made in the year…”) They are the most sought-after violins in the world and sell for more than $100,000 each. Antonio couldn’t sing, or play, or preach, or teach, but he used the ability he had, and his violins are still making beautiful music today. Antonio is a challenge to people who have only a single talent and who try to bury the talent for fear of failure — like the lazy servant in Jesus’ parable. . (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/
1) Using one’s talents: Booker T. Washington started life as a black American slave. At the age of sixteen, he walked almost five hundred miles from his slave home to Hampton Institute in Virginia. When he got there, he was told that classes were already filled. But that didn’t stop him. He took a job at the school doing menial work: sweeping floors, making beds, and doing anything they wanted, just so he could be around the environment of learning. He did these jobs so well that the faculty found room for him as a student. He worked his way up at the school, became a famous teacher, the first black faculty member at Hampton Institute. He became a writer and the author of Up From Slavery. He was a popular public speaker. And he eventually founded Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, where he brought George Washington Carver to teach and do all his research which changed and improved farming techniques. Booker T. Washington used his God-given talents, and we all gained from them. . (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/
2) Buried talent: Niccolò Paganini (1782 –1840) was an Italian violinist, violist, guitarist, and composer. He was one of the most celebrated violin vituosi of his time, and left his mark as one of the pillars of modern violin technique. His Caprice No. 24 in A minor, Op. 1, is among the best known of his compositions, and has served as an inspiration for many prominent composers. But he willed his violin to the city of his birth, Geno, Italy, with the condition that the violin never again be played. What a pity! The absence of use and handling resulted in the decay of the wood used in the instrument. A violin that is constantly used can be preserved and in some cases even grow richer in tone for hundreds of years, Paginini’s wish just resulted in the crumbling of his precious violin in its case. . (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/
3) “If only I had her looks.” There is a story of the thirty-eight-year-old scrubwoman who would go to the movies and sigh, “If only I had her looks.” She would listen to a singer and moan, “If only I had her voice.” Then one day someone gave her a copy of the book, The Magic of Believing. She stopped comparing herself with actresses and singers. She stopped crying about what she didn’t have and started concentrating on what she did have. She took inventory of herself and remembered that in high school she had had a reputation for being the funniest girl around. She began to turn her liabilities into assets. When she was at the top of her career, Phyllis Diller made over $1 million a year. In the 1960’s that was a great deal of money. She wasn’t good-looking and she had a scratchy voice, but she could make people laugh. Well, maybe God is saying something like that to us through today’s parable of the talents. Maybe when we complain that we wish that we had more, if only we were like someone other than ourselves, if only… He says to us: “Use the gifts I have given you!” Stop crying about what you do not have and start concentrating on what you do have. Use the gifts that God has given you. . (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/
4) “Where is the piccolo?” Sir Michael Costa, the celebrated conductor of the 19th century, was holding a rehearsal. As the mighty chorus rang out accompanied by scores of instruments, the musician playing the piccolo –a little pint-sized flute–thinking perhaps that his contribution would not be missed amid so much music, stopped playing. Suddenly, the great leader stopped and cried out, “Where is the piccolo?” The sound of that one small instrument was necessary to the harmony, and the Master Conductor missed it when it dropped out. The point? To the Conductor there are no insignificant instruments in an orchestra. Sometimes the smallest and seemingly least important one can make the greatest contribution and even if it doesn’t seem to make that big a difference. Like the piccolo player in Sir Michael’s orchestra, we often (in our own sovereignty!) decide that our contribution is not significant. But the Conductor immediately notices. From our perspective, our contribution may be small, but from His, it is crucial. For all piccolos who won’t play, or at least aren’t playing, Jesus has something to say: “Use the gifts that God has given you.” . (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/
5) “Do you want a chance to change the world?”: Steven Jobs is the man who founded the enormously successful company called Apple Computer. Jobs decided that Mr. John Sculley was the man he needed to help him fulfill his dream of building a completely different kind of computer company, one which would make computers available to every person in the world. However, Mr. Sculley was comfortably and safely entrenched as president of the Pepsico Corporation, the makers of the soft drink Pepsi-Cola. In this position, John Sculley had obtained everything that a man could want: power, prestige, public recognition, an enormous salary and a secure future. The thought of a career change requiring a move to the West Coast frightened him. He was concerned about losing pensions and deferred compensation and the adjustment to living in California, in other words, “the pragmatic stuff that preoccupies the middle-aged.” He says, “I was overly concerned with what would happen next week and the week after next.” John Sculley knew that he was safe and happy at Pepsico. But he also knew that he had grown to dislike the competitive nature of the business. He also knew how bored he was. Steven Jobs at Apple Computer sensed this. And so, he finally confronted his new friend with this pointed question. He said to John, “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?” That question penetrated deep into the heart and mind of John Sculley. It changed the course of his life. He therefore went to Apple Computer and helped it to grow into one of the most successful corporations in the world. Mr. Sculley’s life was changed because he took the risk and decided to invest in himself and others, and to grow. [John Sculley, Odyssey (New York: Harper & Row, 1987), p. 90.] (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/
6) Talents- use them or lose them: There was an American businessman by the name of Wilson. He was tired of the Great Depression, rising taxes, and increasing crime, and in 1940 he sold his home and business and moved to an island in the South Pacific to get away from it all. Balmy and ringed with beautiful beaches, it was a paradise. Sounds like the perfect setting doesn’t it. You know the name of the island? Iwo Jima. For those too young to recall, Iwo Jima, was an island where the fiercest fighting between American forces and the Japanese took place in the Second World War. You have to use your talent or lose it. (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/
7) “What we are about is faithfulness.” Back in the 1940’s Clarence Jordon founded a farm in Americus, Georgia, and called it Koinonia [Christian Fellowship, Communion with God and with Fellow-Christians] Farm. Koinonia was a community of poor whites and blacks who cooperated in earning a living. The integrated status of the community bothered many local citizens. They tried everything possible to wreck Koinonia. They boycotted its farm products, and slashed the workers’ tires when they came to town. Finally, in 1954, the Ku Klux Klan decided to get rid of Koinonia Farms. One night they came and burned every building except Dr. Jordon’s home. They chased off all of the families except for the Jordons and one black family. The next day a local newspaper reporter came to the farm to see what remained. The rubble was still smoldering. But Clarence Jordon was busy planting and hoeing. With a haughty spirit, the reporter said to Dr. Jordon, “Well, you got two of those Ph.D. s and you’ve put fourteen years into this farm, and there’s nothing left to show for it. Just how successful do you think you’ve been?” Clarence stopped hoeing, turned toward the reporter with his penetrating eyes, and said quietly but firmly, “Sir, I don’t think you understand us Christians. What we are about is not success; what we are about is faithfulness.” In order to be faithful, we must be willing to take risks for that One who dared to march into the very jaws of Hell for us. (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/
8) Earl Fitz was a doer. According to a recent article in Christianity Today, Fitz is 81 years young and he has been the mayor of Iowa Falls, Iowa four times. But that’s the easy part. In Earl’s mid-fifties he left his teaching job and began a new career, selling Bibles. Earl bought 10,000 Bibles from a publisher getting out of Bible sales and sold them all. Today, Earl is the founder and president of Riverside Book and Bible House, which sold $33 million worth of books last year. He’s succeeded with a lot of hard work and a commitment to get Bibles into the homes of America. Earl began a new career when most are preparing for retirement. He wasn’t ready to buy into that classic American line, “I’ve done my time, I owe myself some easy livin’.” And he’s going strong nearly thirty years later [Christianity Today (August 17, 1987), p. 14ff.] I believe Jesus loves the Earl Fitzes of this world. That is the lesson of the parable of the talents. (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/
9) LVA: result of using one’s talents: A lady by the name of Ruth Colvin was shocked at her hometown’s illiteracy rate. So, she decided that God would have her do something about it. “I felt strongly motivated by the Parable of the Talents,” she says. “We’re responsible for making good use of the knowledge we’re given.” So Ruth, a teacher, set up a makeshift office in her suburban basement, filing important matters in an old refrigerator, and launched Literacy Volunteers of America in 1962. Today, LVA has helped 90,000 people learn to read thanks to a grandmotherly woman who saw a need and put her talents to work meeting it. [Today’s Christian Woman (January/February 1987), p. 23.] Life is a gift. We live in a wonderful world of opportunity. (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/
10) Use the gift of the vote: One voter in each precinct in the United States can determine the next President of the United States. In 1948 just one additional vote in each precinct would have elected Thomas Dewey as President. In 1960 one vote in each precinct in Illinois would have elected Richard Nixon as President. Thomas Jefferson was elected President by one vote in the Electoral College. So was John Quincy Adams. Rutherford B. Hays was elected President by one vote. One vote gave Statehood to California, Idaho, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. The Draft Act of World War II passed the House by one vote. Your one vote is important, and a spiritual gift is just like a vote. You either use it or you lose it. (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/
11) One-note opera: Charles L. Allen once told about a composer named Gioachino Rossini who would go out to some small village in Italy one which could not afford an opera and he would write an opera which the people of that village could perform. One summer, he auditioned all of the talent in this small village, and the only woman who could possibly be a leading lady was limited to only one good note. It was a middle B-flat. Rossini was not discouraged; he went right ahead and wrote the opera in which the leading lady had only that one note to sing. But, he surrounded that middle B-flat with such beautiful harmony that when she sang her one note, it was like an angel from heaven. That is what happens when we offer our meager gifts to God. (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/
12) “Life is just a tiny little minute, / But eternity is in it.” : Herman Cain, CEO and president of Godfather’s Pizza, Incorporated, is an African-American man who was raised in poverty. He credits his hard-working father for his success in life. Throughout Herman’s life, his father worked three or four jobs at a time in order to support his family. In addition to his father, Herman Cain also found inspiration from Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays, a former president of Morehouse College. Dr. Mays taught Herman a poem that has guided him through the ups and downs of life. It is as follows:
“Life is just a minute/ Only sixty seconds in it,
Forced upon you, can’t refuse it./ Didn’t seek it, didn’t choose it,
But it’s up to you to use it./ You must suffer if you lose it,
Give an account if you abuse it,
Just a tiny little minute,/ But eternity is in it.” (2)
This catchy little poem perfectly captures our first point for today. According to Jesus, parable of the kingdom, we will be held accountable for our “stewardship” of our lives. (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/
13) “But the recruiting office is on the other side of the street!” The French Army was having a campaign to recruit paratroopers. On one of the busiest streets in Paris they placed their poster. It read like this: “Young Men! Join the parachutist forces of France. It is more dangerous to cross this street than to jump with a parachute.” The poster was a great success until someone scribbled this message at the bottom of the poster: “I would gladly join, but the recruiting office is on the other side of the street!” [Eric W. Johnson, A Treasury of Humor, (New York: Ivy Books, 1994), p. 187.] I doubt that many potential parachutists were deterred by having to cross the street, but there are also many people who would never parachute no matter how safe it was. The very idea turns their knees to jelly. They don’t want to take any risk in life just like the lazy servant in Jesus’ parable. (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/
14) “Do you like the house?” J. Wallace Hamilton in his book What About Tomorrow? tells the story of a wealthy builder. He called in his top assistant manager and said, “I am going away for a while. While I am gone, I want you to oversee the building of my home. I am going to be retiring in a few years, I have these wonderful plans, and excellent parcels of land by the lake, and I want you to oversee the building of our home.” As he left on his journey, the assistant said to himself, “He lives in luxury and has done very little for me. When he retires, what will I have?” So the assistant used every opportunity to feather his own nest. He hired an immoral builder, he used inferior products, he hired inferior workmen and when the house was completed, it looked fine on the outside, but its deficiencies in workmanship and material would soon show as the test of time came. It was not a job “well done.” When the wealthy builder came back, he said, “Do you like the house?” The assistant manager replied, “Yes, I do.” The wealthy builder then asked, “Is this house beautiful?” “It certainly is,” the assistant manager replied. “Great,” said the wealthy builder, “because it is my gift to you. The house is yours.” Each of us lives in the house we are building each day. Where are you in this story tonight? (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/
15) “If you are lonely or have a problem call me.” Tony Campolo told of meeting a woman who is confined to a wheelchair. Although Nancy had a handicapping condition, she developed a unique ministry to people who are lonely and hurting. Nancy ran ads in the personals section of the newspaper that read: “If you are lonely, or have a problem, call me. I am in a wheelchair and seldom get out. We can share our problems with each other. Just call. I’d love to talk.” From that simple ad, the results were truly amazing. Nancy claims that she receives at least thirty calls each week from persons who need someone to talk to and listen to their pain. Nancy spends most of her day comforting and counseling people. She has become someone to lean on, for hundreds of people with problems. Campolo asked her how she became handicapped. Nancy’s answer surprised, even shocked him. “By trying to commit suicide,” she said. Nancy went on to explain, “I was living alone. I had no friends. I hated my job, and I was constantly depressed.” Nancy decided to jump from the window of her apartment “to end it all. But instead of being killed, she ended up in the hospital paralyzed from the waist down. While she was in the hospital, Nancy said, “Jesus appeared to me and told me that I’d had a healthy body and a crippled soul but from then on I would have a crippled body and a healthy soul. I gave my life to Christ right there and then,” she said. “When I got out of the hospital, I tried to think of how a woman like me in a wheelchair could do some good, and I came up with the idea of putting the ad in the newspaper.” [Wake Up America! Tony Campolo (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1991), pp. 87-88.] Nancy does not have some of the opportunities you and I have. But she is making maximum use of the opportunities she has. She is among the blessed of this world. Today’s Gospel challenges us to show gratitude to God by making use of the talents which God has given to us. (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/
16) There are actually seven forms of intelligence: There is a psychologist at Harvard named Howard Gardner who is trying to revolutionize the study of intelligence. He says we have been studying I.Q. all wrong. On our intelligence tests we only measure one or two forms of intelligence. Gardner says that there are actually seven forms of intelligence. Some people are gifted with linguistic intelligence, he says. These are our writers and poets. Others have what he calls logical/mathematical intelligence. They make good accountants and scientists. Some people are gifted spatially. These are our artists and architects. Some are gifted kinesthetically. Their bodies are unusually graceful and coordinated. These are our athletes and dancers. Others are gifted interpersonally. They know instinctively how to get along well with the people around them. These are our sales persons, counselors, teachers. Some are gifted in their ability to look within. These are our philosophers “our wise people.” Some are gifted musically. Here is the important point. Gardner claims that everyone he has ever tested has scored high on at least one of these seven forms of intelligence. All of us are gifted in our own way. Many of us are smarter than we think we are. Don’t you wish that someone had told you that a long time ago? Do tell your children, please. Many of them will go through life thinking they are dumb because their form of intelligence is not valued in school. All of us are gifted. All of us have what we need to succeed. God has created us differently so that different tasks will get done in this world. But all of us have a place where we fit in. All of us have what we need to succeed. WE ALL HAVE WHAT WE NEED TO SUCCEED. God has given us all we need! The sad thing is that we do not appreciate the gifts we have. (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/
17) Give it your best shot! Tom Dempsey was born without a right hand and with only half a right foot. Tom went to school and played football. He even played on a junior college team in California. In time he began to place kick for the team. He got so good that eventually he was signed by the New Orleans Saints. On November 8, 1970, the Saints were trailing Detroit 17-16 with two seconds to go. They had the ball on the Detroit 45-yard line. New Orleans coach J. D. Roberts tapped Tom on the shoulder and said, “Go out there and give it your best shot!” The holder set the ball down eight yards behind the line of scrimmage, instead of seven, to give Dempsey a split second more time to get the ball off. This put the ball 63 yards from the uprights. The rest of the story is history. Tom’s half a right foot made perfect contact. Tom later said in Newsweek Magazine: “I couldn’t follow the ball that far. But I saw the official’s arms go up, and I can’t describe how great I felt.” The Saints won the game 19-17, and Dempsey shattered the NFL field goal record by seven yards. — What does the story have to do with today’s gospel? Tom Dempsey had very few, if any, talents for playing football. Yet he used the very few talents he had to accomplish a great deal. He not only played pro football; he set a pro football record that still stands.
(Mark Link in Sunday Homilies’ quoted by Fr. Botelho)
(Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/
18) Sharing the best you have: Mother Theresa of Calcutta was summoned to Court on the charges of converting children to the Catholic faith. When she stood in the dock, the judge asked her if the charges were true. She asked for a baby to be given to her. She held the baby in her arms and said, “This child I picked up from the dust bin; I don’t know to what religion this child belongs or what language it speaks… I give this child my love, my time, my care, my food… but the best thing that I have in my life is the faith in Jesus Christ. Can’t I give this child the best I have in my life?” The case was dismissed in favour of Mother Theresa. (John Rose in John’s Sunday Homilies; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/
19) Wasted talent: I don’t believe there is any such thing as a born footballer, or writer, or painter. But Paul came very close to being an exception. He was a star footballer. Of course, he had to work at it. But everybody agreed that he was a natural. He knew he was better than any of the kids around him. It came as no surprise when at fifteen he was snapped up by a top professional club. He didn’t have long to wait for his big chance. He had only just celebrated his sixteenth birthday when he found himself selected for the first team. He made an immediate impact. Almost overnight he shot from obscurity to fame. From there on it was one success after another. Within two years he was the club’s leading scorer. By now he was also playing for his country. Everywhere football was talked about his name was mentioned. To the fans he was a hero. To the media he was celebrity. He reveled in his success. A few years ago, he had been a poor kid playing in the back streets of a provincial town. Now he was rich and famous. He married a beautiful model, drove a Mercedes, and was the envy of every schoolboy who played football. However, things soon started to go wrong. There were rumors that he was drinking heavily. The rumors proved to be well-founded. His football began to suffer. His personal life began disintegrating. His wife suddenly left him, claiming that he was selfish and immature. Sadly, Paul’s glittering career came to a premature end. He was remembered as much for the manner in which he squandered a rare talent as for what he achieved with it. It is dangerous when a talent springs up overnight. Far better that it should grow up quietly and almost unnoticed, like a seed that grows into a tree. When a talent grows up like that, a kind of wholeness results. (Flor McCarthy in New Sunday and Holy Day Liturgies; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/
20) Staying Awake: In his autobiography, Report to Greco, Nikos Kazantzakis recounts a conversation he once had with an old monk. Kazantzakis, a young man at the time, was visiting a monastery and was very taken by a famed ascetic, Father Makarios, who lived there. But a series of visits with the old monk left him with some ambivalent feelings as well. The monk’s austere lifestyle stirred a certain religious romanticism in Kazantzakis, but it repelled him too; he wanted the romanticism, but in a more-palatable way. Here’s their conversation as Kazantzakis records it: “Yours is a hard life, Father. I too want to be saved. Is there no other way?” “More agreeable?” asked the ascetic, smiling compassionately. “More human, Father.” “One, only one.” “What is that?” “Ascent. To climb a series of steps. From the full stomach to hunger, from the slaked throat to thirst, from joy to suffering. God sits at the summit of hunger, thirst, and suffering; the devil sits at the summit of the comfortable life. Choose.” “I am still young. The world is nice. I have time to choose.” Reaching out, the old monk touched my knee and said: “Wake up, my child. Wake up before death wakes you up.” I shuddered and said: “I am still young.” “Death loves the young,” the old man replied. “The inferno loves the young. Life is like a lighted candle, easily extinguished. Take care—wake up! Wake up! Wake up, before death wakes you up!”– In a less dramatic expression that’s a virtual leitmotif in the Gospels. Jesus is always telling us to wake up, to stay awake, to be vigilant, to be more alert to a deeper reality. What’s meant by that? How are we asleep to depth? How are we to wake up and stay awake? (Fr. Ron Roklster, Center for Liturgy). (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/
21) “That was the happiest moment of my life.” : It has been said that our true birthplace is the place in which we awaken to our gifts and talents. Often it takes an outsider to recognize the talents. Just as the sun helps to bring to birth the fragrant flowers that lie hidden in the soil of the fields, so there are people who find their fulfillment in helping to unfold the talents God has deposited in others. The Russian writer, Fydor Dostoevsky, was only 20 when he wrote his first book, entitled, Poor Folk. The foremost critic of the day was a man by the name of Belinksy. When Belinsky read the manuscript of the young Dostoevsky he said: “You have a great gift. Take good care of this gift and you will become a great writer.” Dostoevsky was intoxicated by the words of the famous critic. Many years later he wrote, “That was the happiest moment of my life.” The recognition of Belinsky confirmed him in his belief of his own talent. It did more. It launched him on his way. He spent the rest of his life expressing himself through his writing. One of our greatest needs is to express ourselves. Unless we express ourselves, we cannot realize or fulfill ourselves. Sadly, a lot of talent goes unexpressed. It is in living that we discover our talent. Every talent has to be discovered. A lot of discipline, patience, and hard work are required if a talent is to bear full fruit. We see this in the first two servants in Jesus‘ story. We see the opposite of it in the case of the third servant. It wasn’t the harshness of the master that prevented him from using his talent, nor was it lack opportunity, He himself was to blame. We can’t take credit for our talent. Life is God’s gift to us. What we do with our life is our gift to God. (Flor McCarthy in New Sunday & Holy Day Liturgies). (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/
22) “Today you have proved to me that there is a God in heaven!:” The legendary American violinist, Yehudi Menuhin, was but seven when he performed Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in public. Aged ten, his violin recital at London’s Royal Albert Hall was so phenomenal that Albert Einstein who heard him reportedly whispered to the child prodigy, “Today you have proved to me that there is a God in Heaven!” Indeed, when one experiences talent developed in so short a time, one gets a glimpse of God, a foretaste of Heaven. Today’s readings suggest that God wants us to use our talents and treasures before time runs out. (Francis Gonsalves in Sunday Seeds for Daily Deeds). (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/
23) In 1644, Antonio Stradivari was born in Cremona, Italy. He had a very high and squeaky voice. Though he loved music and wanted to be a musician, he could not take part in a choir. His friends made fun of him because the talent he had was wood-carving. When Antonio was 22, he became an apprentice to a well-known violin maker Nicholas Amati. Under his master’s training, Antonio’s knack for carving grew, and his hobby became his craft. He started his own violin shop when he was 36. He worked patiently and faithfully. By the time he died at 93, he had built over 1,500 violins, and today, they are the most sought after and expensive violins in the world. He was not a singer, music player or teacher of music yet he used his ability to make beautiful music. (Elias Dias in Divine Stories for Families.) (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/
24) “Michelangelo, talent is cheap; dedication is costly!” Bertoldo de Giovanni is a name even the most enthusiastic lover of art is unlikely to recognize. He was the pupil of Donatello, the greatest sculptor of his time, and he was the teacher of Michelangelo, the greatest sculptor of all time. Michelangelo was only 14 years old when he came to Bertoldo, but it was already obvious that he was enormously gifted. Bertoldo was wise enough to realize that gifted people are often tempted to coast rather than to grow, and therefore he kept trying to pressure his young prodigy to work seriously at his art. One day he came into the studio to find Michelangelo toying with a piece of sculpture far beneath his abilities. Bertoldo grabbed a hammer, stomped across the room, and smashed the work into tiny pieces, shouting this unforgettable message, “Michelangelo, talent is cheap; dedication is costly!” (Gary Inrig, A Call to Excellence). (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/
25) “America’s Got Talent” is one of a dozen or more copy-cat “spin-offs” from the grand-daddy original “discover-unknown-talent” show “American Idol,” a franchise we copied from Great Britain’s “Pop Idol” franchise. This genre of television that includes “The Voice,” “X-Factor” and “America’s Got Talent,” focus on finding that rare pearl of stardom embedded amidst the grit and gravel of everyday gifts. Ferreting out someone’s ability to excel at something, identifying an individual’s unique “talent,” has its roots in this week’s Gospel text. In fact, you might call our text the original “talent contest.” In the first century a “talent” was actually a measure of weight for gold, silver and copper. We do know it was not a specific value of currency or wealth. We do not know exactly what the weight was that a “talent” measured. We do know it was recognized as the largest weight in normal everyday use. One “talent,” then, was a considerable amount, especially when it expressed the weight of such valuable commodities as gold and silver and copper. In this week’s Gospel parable these weighty “talents” are distributed by a Master to his some of his slave-servants in varying amounts. (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/
26) Caught Off-Guard: In 79 AD, the volcano Vesuvius, which rises just off the Bay of Naples, Italy, erupted violently, totally destroying Pompeii, a city of 20,000 people. Much of the city was excavated in the nineteenth century, but archeologists are still uncovering certain neighborhoods. Sometimes the volcanic ash simply buried victims alive. Their bones have long since turned to dust, but the ash in many cases formed a firm mold around them at the moment of death; and by filling the mold with plaster, the excavators can obtain perfect images of those who died in the anguish of the disaster. In 1949, the archeologists reproduced a startling cast of one of the Pompeian victims. He lay face down as if death had taken him completely unawares. In one hand was a small crowbar. In the other, clasped tight in his fist, were several gold coins. To all appearances he was a thief who had taken advantage of the confusion of others to break into a building and rob the owner. The gold had done him little good. “… You are not in the dark, brothers, that the day should catch you off guard, like a thief.” (1 Thessalonians, 5:4. (Today’s second reading). (Father Robert F. McNamara). (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/
27) Trading with God-given talents: Some years ago, a Filipino girl who studied in the United States of America (USA) made big news because of her incredible intellectual prowess. Maricel Aragon-Yicks, a relative of the late Philippines President, Manuel Quezon, finished her grade school in two years. At eight, she graduated from high school and at eleven, she took up, not one but two courses simultaneously – law and medicine. Everybody considered her as extraordinary, a “bionic.” Fr. San Luis continued to narrate another true story that what was most touching is the story of a Chinese boy who came from a very poor family in Hong Kong never dreamed that would go far. His parents left him behind to do a housekeeping job in Australia. Gifted with talents for doing stunts and acrobatics, he developed and cashed in on these until he rose to become a famous movie actor multi-millionaire and Asia superstar. That is Jacky Chan, the Kung Fu kid. (Fr. Benitez) (Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/ L/20***********
3. In Whose Hands
A baseball in my hands is worth about $6. A baseball in Mark Mcguire's hands is worth $19 million.
It depends whose hands it's in.
A tennis racket is useless in my hands. A tennis racket in Pete Sampras' hands is a Wimbledon Championship.
It depends whose hands it's in.
A rod in my hands will keep away a wild animal.
A rod in Moses' hands will part the mighty sea.
It depends whose hands it's in.
A sling shot in my hands is a kid's toy.
A sling shot in David's hand is a mighty weapon.
It depends whose hands it's in.
Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in my hands is a couple of fish sandwiches.
Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in God's hands will feed thousands.
It depends whose hands it's in.
Nails in my hands might produce a birdhouse.
Nails in Jesus Christ's hands will produce salvation for the entire world.
It depends whose hands it's in.
As you see now it depends whose hands it's in.
Why is life like that? I don't know. We are all equal in the eyes of God. We are all guaranteed equal rights under the Constitution. In an election our votes are all equal. But when it comes to our abilities, we are as different as different can be. God simply did not make us all the same. There are some people who can handle five talents; there are some who can handle only one. There are some persons who have great intellectual capabilities, and some who do not. There are some who have the ability to project and articulate their thoughts, and there are some who cannot. There are some who have physical prowess and attractive looks, and there are some who do not.
The important thing to remember is that each servant was given something. No one was left idle. You may not be a five-talent person, but you have some talent. We all do. And you know something. I think that there are a whole lot more one and two talent people in this world than there are five talent people. Oh, there are some people who seem to have it all. I won't deny that. But most of us are just one or two talent servants.
The landowner now went on his journey. When he returned he called together his three servants and asked them to give an account...
But there was another inmate named Maggie who cared for Annie. Maggie talked to her, fed her, even though Annie would throw her food on the floor, cursing and rebelling with every ounce of her being. But Maggie was a Christian and out of her convictions she was determined to love this dirty, unkempt, spiteful, unloving little girl. It wasn't easy, but slowly it got through to Annie that she was not the only who was suffering. Maggie also had been abandoned. And gradually Annie began to respond.
Maggie told her about a school for the blind and Annie began to beg to be sent there, and finally, consent was given and she went to the Perkins Institute. After a series of operations her sight was partially restored. She was able to finish her schooling and graduate at age twenty. Having been blind so long she told the director of Perkins that she wanted to work with blind and difficult children. They found a little girl seven years old in Alabama who was blind and deaf from the age of two. So, Annie Sullivan went to Tuscumbia, Alabama to unlock the door of Helen Keller's dark prison and to set her free.
One human being, in the name of Christ, helping another human being! That's how God's kingdom comes, through small acts of kindness!
Robert W. Bohl, Reluctant Servants
Look at the facts: Cobb made 134 attempts, Carey, 53. Cobb failed 38 times; Carey only failed twice. Cobb succeeded 96 times, Carey only 51 times. Cobb's average was only 71 percent. Carey's average was 96 percent. Carey's average was much better than Cobb's. Cobb tried 81 more times than Carey. But here is the key: His 81 additional tries produced 44 more stolen bases. Cobb risked failure 81 more times in one season than his closest rival and Cobb goes down in history as the greatest base runner of all time. Why? Because he tried.
The one in the middle - the faithful servant who does the best he or she possibly can with what has been given - the one who tries. And the result is pleasing, perhaps even surprisingly pleasing, to the Master.
The Peruvian sailors, surprised at this request, told them to lower their buckets and help themselves.
The Spaniards, fearing they'd been misunderstood cried back, "No, no we need FRESH water!
Memorable quotes from world great leaders
With your involvement you can’t fail.- Dr. Abdul Kalam
1. Henry Ford
Ford is known for his innovative success but he failed five times before he founded the FORD Company.
2. R. H. Macy
Before the success of MACY, he failed in seven businesses and finally succeeded with his new store.
3. Soichiro Honda
The billion-dollar business, that is Honda, started initially with a series of failures. He started making scooters of his own at home and spurred on by his neighbors, finally started his own business.
4. Bill Gates
Gates didn’t seem like a shoe-in for success after dropping out of Harvard and starting a failed first business with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen called Traf-O-Data.
5. Harland David Sanders
Sanders founded KFC and his famous secret chicken recipe was rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant accepted it.
6. Walt Disney
Walt Disney had a bit of a rough start and he was fired by a newspaper editor because, ‘he lacked imagination and had no good ideas’. He kept plugging along, however, and eventually found a recipe for success that worked.
Scientists 7. Albert EinsteinEinstein did not speak until he was four and did not read until he was seven, and his teachers and parents thought he was mentally handicapped, slow and anti-social. But he caught on pretty well in the end, winning the Nobel Prize and changing the face of modern physics.
8. Charles Darwin
In his early years, Darwin gave up on having a medical career and considered as a lazy boy. Now, Darwin is well-known for his scientific studies.
9. Isaac Newton
Newton was failed so many times in his school days and was sent off to Cambridge where he finally blossomed into the scholar we know today.
10. Thomas Edison
Edison was fired for being unproductive In his early years. Even as an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb.
11. Orville and Wilbur Wright
After numerous attempts at creating flying machines, several years of hard work, and tons of failed prototypes, the brothers finally created a plane.
Public Figures 12. Winston ChurchillThis Nobel Prize-winning, twice-elected Prime Minster of the United Kingdom struggled in school and failed the sixth grade. After many years of political failures, finally became the Prime Minister at the ripe old age of 62.
13. Abraham Lincoln
After Lincoln was failed many times in business and defeated in numerous runs, he became a greatest leader.
14. Oprah Winfrey
Oprah faced a rough and abusive childhood as well as numerous career setbacks in her life to become one of the most iconic faces on TV.
Writers and Artists15. Steven Spielberg
Spielberg’s name was rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television three times. Thirty-five years after starting his degree, Spielberg returned to school in 2002 to finally complete his work and earn his BA.
16. J. K. Rowling
Rowling may be rolling in a lot of Harry Potter dough today, but before she published the series of novels she was nearly penniless, severely depressed, divorced, trying to raise a child on her own while attending school and writing a novel.
Athletes17. Michael Jordan
Most people wouldn’t believe that a man often lauded as the best basketball player of all time was actually cut from his high school basketball team. ‘I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.’
“I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I have almost lost 300 games.
26 times I have been trusted to take the game winning shot and I missed.
I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that’s why I succeed.”