33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
The gospel reading today is the well-known parable of the talents. A man going on a long journey divided his possessions among three of his servants. Two of them invested what the master gave them and doubled it! They were rewarded for this and were given even greater responsibilities. The third buried what the master gave him. He was punished by being thrown into the darkness outside, where there is wailing and grinding of teeth.
The key to our understanding of this parable’s message is bound up with our definition of “talent.” Today we see the word “talent” and immediately think of our God-given abilities. It’s OK to interpret the parable that way, but it’s limiting the teaching by focusing it too much on our artistic, mental, or physical abilities.
In Jesus’ day, a talent was a measure of weight, about 75 pounds. Its value depended on what was being weighed, copper, gold, or silver. In the parable, one servant was given five talents, another two and another one, each according to his ability.
Though this parable doesn’t begin with the well-known phrase, the kingdom of God is like, it IS a kingdom parable. God assesses our abilities and apportions us an aspect of the kingdom with the expectation that we’ll make our portion grow. Interestingly, what God gives us needs to be given away if our share will expand and grow.
Here’s another way of putting it. The kingdom is in each one of us. When we pour out our lives for the good of others, the kingdom begins to manifest itself. If we bury the kingdom within us, we’ve not only lost the opportunity to partner with God in transforming the world; the portion of the kingdom that was given to us will stagnate within us. We’ll be left outside where we will mourn our missed opportunity with wailing and grinding our teeth.
Let Us Pray:
My Father in heaven, I freely offer myself to you as your servant. I pray that I may assist you in transforming this struggling earth of ours into your kingdom of peace and harmony, of compassion and caring, of mutual respect and love. Amen.
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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