By Angelle Hall
Many years ago, when I was a young teacher, I was warming up my red beans and rice lunch. An older teacher observed to me while we waited for the microwave to beep, “You’ve been loved well in your life.” I just stood there for a second and then said, “Yes, I have.”
As we look at the readings this week, the importance of knowing that we are beloved cannot be overstated. In the Gospel parable, we are told, “The Lord entrusts to us each according to our ability.” It is the Lord who takes the initiative in trusting us. The Lord trusts each one of us. He doesn’t give to us begrudgingly or with a “prove yourself” attitude. Our gifts, responsibilities, and talents are given to us in trust. According to one definition of trust from Merriam Webster, trust is defined as “one in whom confidence is placed.” Another definition from the same source says “trust is dependent on something future or contingent: HOPE.” The Lord places His hope in us!
So how do we respond? Do we receive the gifts sober and alert, grateful and trusting that loving Father gives them out of love for us to grow in holiness and to help others do the same? Or do we receive them in a fear that paralyzes? Or is it somewhere in-between?
In my experience, when I have a hard time using the gifts God gives me, I tend to have a trust problem. Our good Father is showing His love and confidence in me, but my lack of trust makes me want to run and hide. It’s as if I’m 3 years old, and I’m covering my face with my hands saying “If I don’t see you, you can’t see me!” which of course we know is not true. If I lack trust in God, I can’t make myself trust God. The solution, which is the solution to almost everything in the Christian life, is to spend time with the Lord in prayer, to let Him love me and remind me of who I am in His eyes, His daughter, His beloved. Over time, as my relationship with God grows and deepens, then my trust grows.
And then the fruit of that trust will come. The first reading states, “The husband, entrusting his heart to her, has an unfailing prize.” While the Scripture states the effect on the husband, I know the effect this has on me. With this confidence, I can “work with loving hands” and be generous, first in our family and then to many others. It doesn’t mean it’s easy.
As we hope for the “day of the Lord” in our second reading, sharing our gifts with loving hands more often means sacrifice and dying to our selfishness, making room for more trust in the Lord. A mother prepares for the birth of her child for the whole of pregnancy, sacrificing and slowly making room for the fruit of trust and love. Even though it seems foreboding, our anticipation of the Lord’s coming is being likened to the labor pains of a child being born. In its difficulty, there is the understanding that something wonderful waits for you on the other side. A child, unique and special, is sent fresh from God and life is never the same.
Let us be alert and sober, sharing our gifts and sacrificing in the confidence of the Father’s love for us, waiting with anticipation for the Lord to make all things new. As St. John Henry Newman states, “God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another.” The Lord trusts us and is depending on us!