Initially, this blog post was about a totally different topic, but as I was searching for my blog post image, I began to think more and more about what I had already written. The image I came across, the image you now see at the top of this post, really spoke to me. With the first reading in mind, it made me think of the gifts that I have received from God and how I have responded to them. Moreover, why don’t I have the same look of excitement, joy, and amazement when looking at my gifts from God? Have I ever looked at my gifts that way?
Unfortunately, my answer is no.
I hate to admit it, but I have always seen my gifts as something to be shrugged off or a burden.
My laziness and ungratefulness in using the gifts God has given me remind me of what my coworker once said. “When you work for a painting company and are good at painting, it just means that everyone asks you to help them paint every room in the house.” So, at some point, you stop talking about the fact that you worked for a painting company. You don’t mention that you’re good at painting and have helped others with it. You tell yourself that if someone asks, you guess you can help, but only if they ask first.
In today’s first reading, Paul, the Apostle, shares his gifts with the Gentiles, spreading the Word of God further than his comfort zone. It’s easy to share our gifts when we want to, on our terms. It requires a lot more faith and trust in the Lord to do things on His terms, to go where He wants us to go.
Still, the more I look back on my life, the more I am overwhelmed by all of the goodness that God has placed in my life. All of the times I used my gifts for the good of God’s people, not because it’s easy or comfortable for me, I have been rewarded tenfold. The struggles work out. The fear is replaced by peace. Somehow (aka through God’s plan), it all works out.
I often think back to the powerful words of Pope Francis that I was so fortunate to witness:
“My friends, Jesus is the Lord of risk, of the eternal ‘more.’ Jesus is not the Lord of comfort, security, and ease. Following Jesus demands a good dose of courage, a readiness to trade in the sofa for a pair of walking shoes, and to set out on new and uncharted paths. To blaze trails that open up new horizons capable of spreading joy, the joy that is born of God’s love and wells up in your hearts with every act of mercy. To take the path of the ‘craziness’ of our God, who teaches us to encounter him in the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the sick, the friend in trouble, the prisoner, the refugee and the migrant, and our neighbours who feel abandoned. To take the path of our God, who encourages us to be politicians, thinkers, social activists. The God who asks us to devise an economy inspired by solidarity. In all the settings in which you find yourselves, God’s love invites you bring the Good News, making of your own lives a gift to him and to others.” (2016 World Youth Day Prayer Vigil).
Today, I embrace my gifts, as uncomfortable as I may be at first. I want to use my gifts in a way that gives glory to God. I want Jesus, the Lord of risk, to smile down on me as I take each new leap of faith. I want to be confident in the gifts that He has given me and allow myself to be taken out of my comfort zone. The gifts that I have been given are meant to be shared. I want my life to be a gift, spreading excitement, joy, and amazement of God.
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Veronica Alvarado is a born and raised Texan currently living in Michigan. Since graduating from Texas A&M University, Veronica has published various articles in the Catholic Diocese of Austin’s official newspaper, the Catholic Spirit, and other local publications. She now works as the Content Specialist in Diocesan’s Web Department.