REFLECT - The parable of the talentsMATTHEW 25:14-30 [or 25:14-15, 19-21]

Jesus told His disciples this parable: “A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one — to each according to his ability. Then he went away. Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five. Likewise, the one who received two made another two. But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money.

“After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them. The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’…Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’ His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter? Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?

Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’ ”

Optimum use of our talents

The Gospel is Matthew’s narrative of Jesus’ Parable of the Talents. We profit immensely by listening to Pope Francis’ reflection on our use of talents. “The Gospel parable speaks of gifts. It tells us that we have received talents from God ‘according to the ability of each’ (Mt 25:15). Before all else, let us realize this: we do have talents; in God’s eyes, we are ‘talented.’ Consequently no one can think that he or she is useless, so poor as to be incapable of giving something to others. We are chosen and blessed by God, who wants to fill us with his gifts, more than any father or mother does with their own children. And God, in whose eyes no child can be neglected, entrusts to each of us a mission.

“Indeed, as the loving and demanding Father that he is, he gives us responsibility. In the parable, we see that each servant is given talents to use wisely. But, whereas the first two servants do what they are charged, the third does not make his talents bear fruit… ‘I was afraid’ he says… As a result, he is harshly rebuked as ‘wicked and lazy.’ What made the Master displeased with him?

“To use a word that may sound a little old-fashioned, but is still timely, I would say it was his omission. His evil was that of failing to do good. All too often we have the idea that we haven’t done anything wrong, and so we rest content, presuming that we are good and just. But in this way we risk acting like the unworthy servant… To do no wrong is not enough.

“Omission is also the great sin where the poor are concerned. Here it has a specific name: indifference. It is when we say, ‘That doesn’t regard me; it’s not my business; it’s society’s problem’… In the poor, Jesus knocks on the door of our hearts, thirsting for our love. When we overcome our indifference and, in the name of Jesus, we give of ourselves for the least of his brethren, we are his good and faithful friends.

“In the poor, we find the presence of Jesus, who, though rich, became poor (cf. 2 Cor 8:9). [The poor] … open to us the way to heaven; they are our ‘passport’ to paradise. For us, it is an evangelical duty to care for them, as our real riches.”

SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord 2020,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.

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