33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Yr A

Jesus spoke this parable to his disciples: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a man on his way abroad who summoned his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to a third one; each in proportion to his ability. Then he set out. The man who had received the five talents promptly went and traded with them and made five more. The man who had received two made two more in the same way. But the man who had received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now a long time after, the master of those servants came back and went through his accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents came forward bringing five more. “Sir”, he said “you entrusted me with five talents; here are five more that I have made.” His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have shown you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master’s happiness.” Next the man with the two talents came forward. “Sir,” he said “you entrusted me with two talents; here are two more that I have made.” His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have shown you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master’s happiness.” Last came forward the man who had the one talent. “Sir,” said he “I had heard you were a hard man, reaping where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered; so I was afraid, and I went off and hid your talent in the ground. Here it is; it was yours, you have it back.” But his master answered him, “You wicked and lazy servant! So you knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered? Well then, you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have recovered my capital with interest. So now, take the talent from him and give it to the man who has the five talents. For to everyone who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough; but from the man who has not, even what he has will be taken away. As for this good-for-nothing servant, throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.”’

Mt 25:14-30

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus implores his disciples and followers to give witness to their Christian faith in word and deed, and in so doing, inspire others to follow their example. Jesus implores us to do the same. Just as we should nurture the seed of faith within us so that our “light may shine before others” (Mt 5:16), we should also use the many gifts and talents with which we have been blessed. They are not treasures to be stored or buried. Rather, they are to be shared.

At the time of Jesus, ‘talents’ were a treasure of considerable value. One ‘talent’ would have taken as many as fifteen years for a servant to earn. In today’s unstable economic times the actions of the third servant, “who buries his master’s money”, are understandable – he was afraid of losing what he had been given. The master does not castigate his servant because of his fearfulness but because he had acted selfishly, hoarding the wealth, neither sharing it nor putting it to a productive use.

Just as the master rejoices in the faithfulness of his first two servants who put their ‘talents’ to good use, Jesus does the same with us. He invites us to be a light to the world and challenges us to use the faith and the many gifts that we have been given, so that others may see our good works which ultimately give glory to God (Mt 5: 14-16).

Anthony Cleary
Director: Mission and Identity