28 January 2010. Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas
2 Samuel 7, 18-29; Psalm 132; Mark 4, 21-25
To those who would like to have scripture passages to support your career or interest, the Gospel today precisely does that. The books of the bible did not become canonical or normative for nothing.
1. Practice. Mark 4, 25: To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” This is a life principle. We usually discover our abilities by starting with one interest. When young, we find ourselves drawn by music. We begin by trying out a simple piece on the keyboard. As we progress, we discover that we can branch out into different musical genres. The same thing with sports. When we practice regularly, we become better and better and better. Eventually, we find ourselves multi-talented. And that is done incrementally; practicing regularly.
On the other hand, if we don’t practice, whatever innate talent we possess will deteriorate. Eventually, we lose all.
2. Set the standard. Mark 4, 24: “The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you.” In developing our talents, we must set a standard with which we measure our progress. It is used for comparative evaluations. How near or far we are at reaching our goals will depend on the ideals we have.
It sets the level of quality or attainment. Some of us will have people as their standards like the great masters for painters and artists; the sports legends for athletes; or our parents. Some of us will have a book like a piano collection: the goal is to finish the whole of it. And some will have their own personal expectations like an ideal.
As we progress, we get to have more standards, often better than the first. We always have to up our measure. For example, as beginners, we set the textbook for Grade 1 Piano as the standard. Then we have another textbook for Grade 2 Piano once we’ve accomplished all in the first book, and so on and so forth. We keep on challenging ourselves by having some degree of difficulty as we move towards becoming a pro.
3. Have a purpose. Mark 4, 21: “Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand?” Our life is meaningful if we know for whom our lives belong. Our lives is not meant to be hidden. We have to be influencers: our lives should inspire others. Musicians play for an audience. The athlete for a sports enthusiasts. The blogger for the readers. Thus, we don’t develop our talents, for the sake of just developing them. We don’t live alone. Every single life affects others.
In faith, this is called, witnessing. By being an excellent musician, we witness to the great art called music. By being an exceptional football player, we witness to the exciting world of football. By being a truly good Christian, we witness to the validity of the faith.
In other words, we prove to the world that the Christian faith can be a norm of living, by doing it. So, if asked, “How do you know that your faith is worth living?” You answer, “We have a cloud of witnesses: the saints, the martyrs, the lives of many people who lived it.” We don’t die for something that is worthless.