Maliit na Bagay

Sunday Gospel Reflection
Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Matthew 25:14-30 | November 19, 2023

Maliit na Bagay
JM Nuqui, Campus & Youth Minister

Because of the terrible traffic nowadays, sometimes I’d rather book a motorcycle ride than drive my car. (Yes to Angkas, Joyride, and Move It supremacy!) In one of my trips – probably because my pick-up point was UP Diliman – my rider engaged me in a conversation about intelligence and giftedness. “Sir, alam niyo, naiinggit talaga ako sa mga taga-UP. Kasi matatalino sila. Nung nag-aaral ako, kulelat ako lagi. Nangongopya nga lang ako eh.” Throughout his storytelling, he constantly mentioned the word “maliit”. Nanliliit po ako sa aming magkakapatid. Maliit lang sinasahod ko; sapat lang na may makain sa araw. Ang liit-liit lang ng trabaho ko kumpara sa iba. But after everything that has been said – with a tone of confidence and conviction – he assured me, “Pero po sir, ginagawa ko lahat nang buong-buo. Ito meron ako eh. Sipagan lang natin!”

Dear brother and sisters, we hear in today’s gospel a familiar story: the parable of the talents. Just like the rider, may I invite you to focus on the word “little” or “small”. Twice we heard the master said, “Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities.” Back in Jesus’ time, a talent is equivalent to one measure of gold – perhaps around 33kg of gold. Para ma-imagine natin kung gaano ito kalaki, ang isang kilo ng ginto ngayon ay naghahalagang 62,000 dollars o 3.4 million pesos. Thus, the servant who had 5 talents, in today’s standard, was actually given 10 million dollars or 550 million pesos. At narinig natin na sila ay binigyan ayon sa kani-kanilang kakayahan – to see how they manage the little things entrusted to them. In the face of what the master has in store for them, kung tutuusin, ay maliit lamang ang hawak nila.

It always amazes me how some people, when given the opportunity, can do so much with little time and resources. They focus on what they have and make the most out of it – bringing out the countless potentials and possibilities of whatever is given them. Then we realize that perhaps the greatest enemy of potential greatness is the tendency to belittle small things (or even small people!) Knowing that the other two servants were given much more, the third servant in the parable may have belittled the talent he received. “Bakit isa lang sa akin?” Not only did he belittle what he received, but also his capacity to make something great out of it.

Nagalit ang amo, hindi dahil hindi tumubo ang iniwan niyang pera, bagkus dahil hindi ginamit ng alipin ang pera ayon sa kanyang kakayahan. The servant had something, but he belittled it. He considered it as nothing, and thus ended up with nothing. Isn’t this reminiscent of the story of the feeding of the five thousand? The disciples said, “we have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” But they had something! May tinapay at isda sila, but they belittled it and deemed it nothing. Friends, we will never learn the secret of multiplication if we do not begin with whatever little we have. Hopefully we do not regard as nothing that which we have just because it doesn’t seem very much to us. Or else, as the parable warns us, we might end up losing it too.

My dear brothers and sisters, we who partake in the Eucharist should never belittle that which we have. Hindi ba’t piraso, katiting, at kapiranggot lamang ang tinatanggap natin sa komunyon? But because this bread is taken and blessed, broken and shared – no matter how little it seems – it’s always more than enough to feed us. Ang mahalaga ay matuto tayong tumanggap (taken) nang may pasasalamat (blessed) at huwag matakot na tayo ay mapira-piraso (broken) at maibahagi (shared). When we say to God, “Lord, this is all I have” but nonetheless offer it back with great hearts, He will surely reply, “my son, my daughter, that is all I want.”

Whenever we feel small, may we be always reminded that we have a God who turns simple water into wine and multiplies five loaves and two fish. We have a God who calls the little boy David to be king and chooses the little girl Mary from the small town of Nazareth to be the mother of Jesus. The next time we feel little about ourselves, may we remember how Jesus called Peter, the humble fisherman, and chose Matthew, the tax collector, who was looked down upon by the people.

Dear friends, we have the capacity to bring out the best in whatever little we have because God has first brought out the best in us. Our faith in God also speaks of God’s faith in us. The big heart that we pour into the little things we do is but a reflection of the great love – always lavish and constant – God has for us.

Sapagkat, kahit kailan, hindi tayo maliit sa mata ng Diyos.

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