Homily – 2011 Remembrance Sunday- 33rd Sunday Year A

Homily – 2011 Remembrance Sunday- 33rd Sunday Year A

Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31
Psalm 127:1-5
1 Thessalonians 5:1-6
Matthew 25:14-30

Here dead lie we because we did not choose
To live and shame the land from which we sprung.
Life, to be sure, is nothing much to lose;
But young men think it is, and we were young.

This poem is called “For the War Dead” and it's by A.E. Housman. He wrote it for the dead of world war 1, but it could so easily have been written for the soldiers of any war, in any time. I read it on the Underground this time last year and it has kind of stayed with me. It speaks of loss, loss of life, loss of youth and loss of shame. It honours those who choose to fight, while painting a bleak picture of war. Today we remember those who have lost their lives in war and the families they didn't return to.

By buying a poppy we give money to help those returning from war and the families of those who haven't returned. And by wearing the poppy we remember. As we remember, think why did they do this for us? Their lives were lost, so ours may be lived. That's worth remembering every day of your life. What will you do with your life today, tomorrow, this week, this year. How will you use your God given talents?

Talent is a word we have already heard today, do you know where it came from?

Interestingly, the way we use the word talent today, to mean the gifts and skills we possess, came from today's gospel reading. Back in the days of Jesus a talent was a unit of measure, it was the volume of an amphora. One of the Greek clay jars you see in museums and biblical drama. About this tall, and about this wide. If you filled it with silver it would hold about 32kilos of silver. That's about £25,000 worth of silver. So in today's gospel when the man gave his servants five talents, two talents and one talent of silver he was in fact trusting them with a very large sum indeed.

This gospel reading, if you just think about people making money, is confusing. But if you start to ignore the large sums of money start to think of what you do with the talent God gives you it makes much more sense.

Are you like the first servant. Are you blessed with many talents? Are you a musician, an accountant, a teacher, an artist, an athlete, a carer? Do you use your talents well? Do you practice, do you strive to get better?

Are you like the second servant? Blessed with a couple of talents? Maybe you are a doctor, a builder, a carpenter, a reporter, a parent? Do you work hard making the most of your skill, challenge yourself daily?

Or are you like the third servant? You have one gift, one talent, one something special that you can do. Can you sing, can you bake or cook, can you programme a computer, can you kick a football? Do you use this talent for others? Do you use this talent at all? Do you hide it where no one can see it?
We all have talents. This parable teaches us we are supposed to use them. Take risks with them, improve the lives of those around us with them. When we use them they will grow, practice makes perfect. When we use them, more talents will be given us.

Can you play an instrument? Can you sing, why not join a group or choir, find others who are musical, go carol singing, teach singing, volunteer to play at church, spread the joy your talent inspires. Your talents will grow, who knows the next step could be X-Factor.

Maybe your talent is parenting? Is the Lord saying to you, good and faithful servant, look how well you bring up your children. I give you another talent to teach, or to lead, or to coach. Should you now look to use your new talents at school or in children liturgy, maybe scouts or guides, or the football team. Think about your calling, your talents, your vocation.

The interesting thing about our talents according to today's gospel is that they must be used. If they are used they will grow. If they grow you will be rewarded. The reward is more talents, more work. Our life in Christ is a life of service to others. It's not a life of luxury and riches, not for us anyway. It's a life where we provide the luxury and riches, not in money but in love, care and service. Our reward my fellow, good and faithful servants, is in our Lords delight in our service, and in an eternal life with Him after this one.

Today, wear you poppy with pride. Remember the lost talents of those who died. Be thankful for their service. Now think about your talents, think about how to use them, talk to God and ask him if you are using all the talents you have been given.

Don't bury your talent as the third servant did, get out there and use it.

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