November 13, 2011: 33rd Sunday in Oridnary Time
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.
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.'” (Matthew 25:14-15, 19-21)
In the time of Jesus, it was common for the owner of the house to entrust his property to his servants while he went on a journey. In this story, the man gave his three servants portions of his property (five, two and one talents). Talents in Biblical times meant great wealth and so even one talent equaled riches. The master then returns and asks for his property. If you read the entire chapter, you learn that the last servant, who had just one talent, buried it because he “feared the master” and didn’t want to be accused of stealing. He returned the one talent he’d been given. In the parable, Jesus states that the man didn’t even put it in the bank where it could collect interest! Jesus is hinting at the real reason that the man didn’t act appropriately. He didn’t have faith that the master would return. If he had, he would have wanted to please the owner and would have invested the money. At the very least, he would have put it in a safe place, like a bank. He probably thought, “If my master returns, I can give him back his money and won’t be accused of stealing it. If he doesn’t return, I can keep the money because there won’t be a record of it at the bank.” He lacked faith in the master who had promised to return.
Jesus died on the cross for us and promised to return one day to be with his children. Are we living today as if we really believe that Christ will return? Are we loving others? Are we acting mercifully and justly? Are we spending time with God so we’ll “recognize” each other the next time we meet? Let’s invest what we have (our money, talent, time, energy) in people and tasks that please God so when Christ returns, he’ll invite us to “share in his joy.”