As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace. –1 Peter 4:10
The Deacon gave his homily on Mt. 24:14-30, the parable of the talents. He presented the talents as the presence and grace of God, given to us in different amounts.
At the sign of peace, I realized there weren’t enough Eucharistic ministers so I went up to the altar with my heart open to whatever the Lord wanted to do through me. I received the hosts to distribute, and when Fr. Bob and the Deacon choose stations on the side, I positioned myself at the center aisle.
Toward the end of Communion distribution, Fr. Bob came up behind me singing the communion hymn. Gracefully, between communicants, he took a big handful of hosts from my chalice. I could see 20 or more people in my line and I counted a dozen or less hosts left in my chalice. Would God multiply them? Then the line next to mine ended and the minister dumped a dozen or so hosts into my chalice. I ended up with more than enough.
Chalice to chalice
After the last communicant, I went to the side table by the altar where Fr. Bob was busily cleaning up. I offered him my chalice but he immediately handed me his and directed me to collect the extra hosts. I combined his and mine, looked around but found only empty chalices. As I held out the chalice with the remaining hosts to Fr. Bob, the head minister took it out of my hand and started toward the choir, leaving me holding his empty chalice.
Back in the pew I knelt in thanksgiving and asked the Lord to help me understand the meaning of the confusing emptying and refilling of hosts from chalice to chalice. Was this an illustration of the talents as the presence and grace of God, offered to us in different amounts? I now saw the hosts as his Eucharistic grace and presence. In our openness and flexibility to the will of God, we find ourselves receiving and giving away his grace and presence in exciting and unpredictable ways.
His mysterious presence
We can rethink our attitude toward all our talents and resources and see them as gifts of grace and presence. We are imbued with a particle of God’s presence unique to who we are in him. We can’t ever understand this mystery of how we receive and give away his presence within us, but we carry it in the sacred chalice of our hearts, ready to share it as we are directed.
Some are given talents for big jobs as evangelists, priests, politicians or theologians. Others use their talents in less visible jobs, confined to a household of children and their local circle of influence. For all of us, the mission is the same: to carry his presence into the world with joy.
Look around and see how his presence abounds. How have you experienced his grace and presence in the chalice of your heart?
(© 2012 revised 2017 Nancy HC Ward)