33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time ~ November 15, 2020

Today, Jesus tells us about the wonderful parable of the great gifts and talents we all have. He said, the kingdom of God is like a man going on a journey. He called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one, to each according to his ability. The servants are expected to report their success to their master on their return.

              Their master in the parable represents God. The servants represent you and I, and the talents represent our gifts. The talents are entrusted to us to make use of them. God doesn’t want us to hide our gifts or talents. He wants us to use them to spread his message of hope, trust, love and peace in the world. He wants us to help inspire others. It’s like we are planting seeds that keep growing more and more of God’s work in the world. Each person in the parable received different gifts according to their ability. God may hold us responsible if we do not make use of the gift he has given us.

The parable tells us that whatever we have, little or much, we must use it at the service of God and God’s people. God created us and invested his wealth in each one of us, and he expects us to use it for his glory. We owe everything to God, as such; on judgment day we shall all render account of how we spent our lives here on earth. Now is the time for us to make use of the precious gifts and talents God has given us to serve him and his people. God has given us so many things in our lives to be grateful. He has given us a number of gifts, opportunities, perhaps you have good finances, and you have great education. Whatever it is you have. But the question is, right now in your life, what are you doing with what God has given you? Are you doing anything with it in connection to the kingdom of God? Again, we must understand that, really, whatever we have is for the purpose of building up the kingdom of God and honoring him. We become a gift to our family, community, and a gift to the world. We are gift to each other. God made it so. Special thanks and prayers to everyone who continues to use their gifts and talents to support our parish.

I think it’s a good connection with what we have today for the mission appeal the Diocese of Buffalo has asked us to do as a parish for the mission Diocese of Jagdalpur in India. Fr. Roy Chettany is their representative here in America. He could not come in person because of the covid-19 travel restrictions and he has asked me to say this on his behalf:

“Dear friends, like the master in the story, our Father in heaven has not send us here on earth empty-handed. Each one of us is entrusted with talents of various kinds that we need to utilize meaningfully and carefully. There are different ways how we can do it. First of all we have a responsibility towards our brothers and sisters who are in need. Are we ready to multiply our God given talents by sharing with others who are less fortunate?

As Catholics, it is our responsibility to do God’s work and to take care of one another, as the Catholic Church is one family all over the world.  I am writing to ask your help for the Mission Diocese of Jagdalpur, located in Chhattisgarh, India. It was part of the archdiocese of Raipur prior to being raised as a special mission. Jagdalpur diocese was created as a separate mission in 1972 and since then it has seen tremendous growth in terms of Catholic population and catholic services in the fields of education, health care, social welfare and human development. The Catholic population today stands at more than 12,500 among a population of 3 million people. The mission comprises the entire region of Bastar, which is predominantly a tribal area (aboriginal people in American terms).  They constitute 72% of the total population. They are the primitive people of the area. They do not believe in the notion of formal education. They live a simple nomadic life. Hunting, farming and cattle raising are their main means of livelihood.  The entire diocese is bigger than the country of Belgium. The people are poor and belong to various tribes namely Madias, Murias, Gonds, Halbas and Bhatras. They speak almost 78 dialects such as Muria, halbi, Bhatri, Chattisgarhi etc. Hindi is the official language of the people.

The diocese runs its social welfare and development works through its 40 plus mission stations. The mission stations are located in remote rural areas. We organize the local people and engage them in productive farming, adult literacy, mother and child health programs, self-help groups, formal educational institutions etc. There are 45 schools, mostly in rural and remote areas, four hospitals, 10 dispensaries, 40 boarding houses for school age children. The diocese being a mission diocese with very few Catholics, depend on donations and grants from well wishers and funding agencies to carry out its charitable and social welfare activities. There are 73 priests, religious brothers, nearly 200 sisters and dozens of lay catechists and activists who bear witness to the Gospel in this most challenging north Indian mission. On behalf of this less fortunate people, especially the children, I request you to support the activities of the mission. By doing this you will multiply the God given talents to you, especially in this very challenging time. As the spirit inspires and your means allow please support the mission.   

On behalf of Bishop Joseph and the entire diocese of Jagdalpur, I sincerely thank Bishop Sharfengerger who has invited us through the Society for the Propagation of Faith to participate in the mission appeal. Prayers and blessings to all of you in All Saints Parish at Lockport, for your willingness to participate in the mission of the church even in this most difficult time through your financial support and prayers. I, in a very special way thank Fr. Daniel Ogbeifun, the pastor of your parish who willingly accepted my request to do the mission appeal on my behalf, as I was not able to come to speak to you in person. Please keep us in your prayers, as you will always be in ours. Thank you and May God bless you! Fr. Roy Chettany. Catholic Diocese of Jagdalpur, India.”