The Parable of the Talents

On the Gospel of Matthew 25:14-30

33rd Sunday of the Year

Have you ever been asked to do something that you didn’t want to do? Or rather have you ever been asked to do something that you felt you couldn’t do or that somebody else would do better?

Today’s Gospel, often called the parable of the talents, asks us just that! Christ is asking us to answer his call as only we can; the parable is relevant to us all; it is for all people and for all times. It teaches us much about our own human nature and the humanity of those in our families, our communities, our friends and indeed the Church. Jesus in today’s Gospel invites us to reach our full human potential by using creatively the gifts with which God has blessed us. God has given to each of us unique gifts and talents as an expression of his love for us and as such they are not intended to be hidden or to remain unused. Rather, they are meant to be developed by us as a sign that we appreciate God’s love and blessing.

God does not give us talents just for ourselves. Our strengths and talents are best used for the good of other people and for the good of the Church. This is how we honour and glorify God. But we can hide our talents or, even worse, we may waste them by using them in useless and often sinful ways.

Am I a good communicator? Do people listen to me when I speak? If so, do I use my gift to convey the Gospel message and the Teaching of the Church? Am I afraid it will make me unpopular? If I take the risk and allow myself to be disturbed who knows what may happen. I might bring another person consolation and happiness. Ultimately I might become God’s instrument in guiding people to salvation.

Have I been blessed with the gifts that make me a good listener? Do I use these gifts to bring peace and harmony to troubled relationships around me, in the home or the work place, wherever it may be?

We must remember that God has blessed each one of us with a unique combination of gifts and talents that he expects us to develop. These talents vary considerably and we do not all receive the same gifts and strengths, either in kind or in abundance.

But the invitation is the same for us all, to trust God by using and developing our talents and strengths to the best of our ability. If we do this it has a knock-on effect, our own personal talents and strengths complement the talents that other people lack and we enable them to share with us the strengths that we lack. In effect, by refusing to be creative and generous, we cause our talents to die. By using them well we demonstrate that we are faithful and trustworthy. By using them well we build up the Kingdom of God.

 

Jesus spoke this parable to his disciples: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’ His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’ His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. ‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”
– Matthew 25:14-30

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