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Spirituality

Talent show

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Do you know what a talent is? In the biblical sense, it's not the ability to carry a tune or the instinct for making a fortune on the stock market. A talent is a measure of weight, specifically the typical weight of a soldier's pack, something in the range of 75 to 100 pounds. As it is used in this parable, it refers to the weight of the coins entrusted to three servants. The talents the master gave his servants made a heavy load of very valuable coins; one talent is estimated to be worth something like a million dollars in today's money.

We must exercise our prophetic role, which can mean challenging our leaders

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And now, my brothers and sisters, this is just the beginning of Chapter 23, and as you can tell, it's a very harsh judgment on the part of Jesus against the religious leaders -- the scribes, the Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians -- all of them. And as you go through the chapter, it becomes even more critical and harsh.

A revised top 10 list

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I'm still haunted by a late 1960s survey of American Catholics. Participants were asked just one question: What's the more important law -- love your neighbor, or give up meat on Friday? More than 50 percent responded, "Give up meat on Friday." When meatless Fridays trump love of neighbor, we Catholics are in deep trouble.

David Letterman didn't invent the top 10 list. In one form or another, such inventories have been around for a long time -- even during the biblical period.

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