This week's Connecting Point reminds me of the children's book and film "The Wizard of Oz.” As you’ll recall, in the story the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow go to the Wizard so he can give them gifts that they already possess but do not recognize. In the process, the Lion discovers his gift of courage, the Tin Man, his gift of a heart, and the Scarecrow, his gift of intelligence. Through their actions, they then reflect these gifts already present in them.
It isn’t some “wizard,” but God who gives each of us perfect gifts. In today’s second reading, St. James reminds us: “Every perfect gift is from above.” Each of us is called to be good stewards of these gifts, and recognizing them, put them in service of others. James tells us to “be doers of the word and not hearers only,” and that pure religion is “to care for orphans and widows in their affliction.” “Widows and orphans” are code words for the marginalized and afflicted.
This week, we are called to name the gifts God has given us, with humility. We acknowledge that these gifts are not the result of our own doing, but come from God. We are to reflect those gifts in the service of the greater community.
Each of us has special gifts or talents. Some are good listeners; some have the gift of compassion and empathy; some have special artistic, mechanical, clerical, or business skills; some are good teachers; some have a particularly strong faith; some have the gift of passion for justice. Many of us have the gifts of time and material resources. We thank God for these gifts and reflect them by putting them in service of others. There are countless ways of doing so; many groups and organizations are looking for volunteers who possess the gifts present in you!