A Tale of Talents

A Tale of Talents


“Today is filled with love,
Today is like no other day before,
You and I will never be the same ..”

Tony Melendez, who was born with clubbed feet and no arms, was singing as he played on his guitar with his toes. Late Pope St. John Paul II rose to his feet from among the audience, walked towards him, kissed him on his cheek and said: “Tony, you are truly a courageous young man. You are giving hope to all of us. My wish to you is to continue giving hope to all the people!”
And, Tony continued to sing:

“I give you all my love,
This day and every day,
Forever and forever,
In our joys and in our pains..”

This steadfast love which Tony exalts, and the never flickering hope which he emanates, can only sprout from a grateful heart! In a world of insensitivity and self centeredness, steadfast love and unwavering hope may be hard to find. In the midst of affluence and sumptuousness, entitlement and arrogance may be more in vogue than a grateful heart. Yet, Tony and his kind, can’t help but sing of love and hope because their hearts are overflowing with gratitude for the many gifts received from the Lord:

“This day and every day,
Forever and forever!”

Thanksgiving times are back again! The stories, though varied and conflicting, of the relationship between the pilgrim fathers and the Native Americans, are enlivened once more within us when corn, bean, and squash are harvested and eaten with the golden oven roasted turkey in the communion of friends and families with a thankful heart. While the dream of a New World and the struggles to actualize it very vividly come to play in our imagination, the many hands and hearts that lent themselves to the endeavor, also, need to be fondly remembered. It was out of innate goodness and sheer humanity that the Natives went out of their way to help the explorers. In fact, their presence and the help they offered reflect the Providence of God and His immense grace. This gift of providence and grace should always be acknowledged with gratitude.

St. Paul asks: “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Cor 4: 7) And, Jesus Himself exhorts: “Freely you have received; freely give.” (Mt 10:8) St. Paul, thus, concludes: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5: 18) Oftentimes, we are like the nine lepers who got healed, but never returned to thank the Lord! Only the Samaritan returns to thank the Lord with a grateful heart. Every gift needs to be accepted with humility and reciprocated with gratitude. Gift and gratitude are complementary. Even the gentle gesture of someone holding the door open for you should be acknowledged with a ‘Thank you’ and a smiling face. How can we ever let a day in our life pass by without thanking someone?!

The Holy Eucharist is the greatest gift of God to man! The Greek word ‘eukharistia’ from which the name Eucharist’ originated, means ‘thanksgiving.’ This meaning is well explained in the Gospel account of John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” While the Son is the perfect gift of God the Father to the world, the self-emptying sacrifice (Kenosis) of the Son is the perfect gift to the Father in return on behalf of the world. How can we ever be thankful enough to the Lord for the gift of Eucharist than to sing along with the Psalmist: “I will lift up the cup of salvation and praise the LORD’s name for saving me.” ( Psalm 116: 13)

The Souls in Heaven (Church Victorious) feast with the ‘King of kings’ in the eternal banquet along with the heavenly choirs. Our beloved departed souls in purgatory (Church Suffering) aspire to join them. As we, who are on earth (Church Militant), mingle our aspirations and sufferings in the ‘Cup of Salvation’ during every Eucharistic celebration, let the ‘KING’ have mercy upon us! Our attitude should be that of the Centurion: Lord, I am not worthy; but only say the word, and my soul shall be healed (Mathew 8:8). Then, we can say without worries or resentments: Lord God, we praise you for this ineffable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15)


Please watch Tony singing in the presence of Late Pope St. John Paul II:

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