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Matthew 25:14-30

The Word of God

‘For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, “Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.” His master said to him, “Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, “Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.” His master said to him, “Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, “Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.” But his master replied, “You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Matthew 25:14-30
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • This parable is more than an exhortation to use well our qualities. It is about the Kingdom, which is entrusted to us as the Master leaves for a long journey. When he returns, he expects his servants to have put to work the riches he had entrusted to them. The first two risked and doubled what they had been given. They were praised for their commitment to their master, to the Kingdom. The third servant, who was afraid of the master, lost even the one talent he had.
    • Do I risk the many things and qualities I have been given for the growth of the Kingdom, or I am happy with what I have, making sure I do not lose it, happy enough with a respectable existence? What will the master tell me when he calls me to account?
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    • Today is the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. The parable of the talents is a fitting text to be applied to our everyday life in this context. Pope Francis is emphasising the need for the care of creation to be at the personal level of each of us caring for “our home”. Like a family expecting each member to ‘pull their weight’ at home, so the idea of proper care requires each of us to have an awareness of how God has shared his creation with us, and asks for co-operation in looking after our shared inheritance.
    • The key to open a prayer approach with this scripture lies in a deep feel sense of thanksgiving in realising the greatness of the gift, especially the sense of one’s personal gifts, those used for the growth of ourselves and the benefit of others. To bury a treasure is a form of abuse and leads to a form of self hurt because of refusal to develop one’s talents. Our thanksgiving guards us and helps us to develop a lovely relationship with God the donor.
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    • When God’s gifts go unused, God’s goodness comes to be doubted. I ask that I be better able to recognise how I might serve God and others with all the opportunities that I notice.
    • Fulfilling God’s will takes a different shape for each of us as our blessings and situations vary. I pray that I become neither vain not despairing, but am able to be fully alive to every opportunity that presents itself.
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    • My talents: in thanksgiving I dwell on my gifts, firstly looking at them in wonder – my life, my health, my faith, and especially the persons that fill my life and who have made me who I am. I then reflect on the gratuity of all this, and ask God for the grace to know how to be grateful by respecting the talents of others. •
    • I ask myself whether I am like the first two, who worked hard to make their talents bear fruit; or like the third one who was more concerned not to lose what he had, and ended up losing everything. Probably I am a bit of both, so I ask for the grace of inner freedom to be able to express my gratitude through the way I live.
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    • Focus firstly on all those servants who did a fine job for their master. Their reward? To enter into the joy of their master. You can imagine all sorts of celebrations, gifts, sense of fulfilment and general happiness all around. A “talent” was a huge amount at the time of the Gospels, so the master was entrusting a great deal to his servants. He must have been delighted with their work. Except for the one who only received one talent. There’s no reason to believe that he was a bad man. But he opts for security and not for risk.
    • As Pope Francis puts it about those who live a “tomb-psychology” in the church: "Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of the joy of evangelisation! Disillusioned with reality, with the Church and with themselves, they experience a constant temptation to cling to a faint melancholy, lacking in hope, which seizes the heart like “the most precious of the devil’s potions”. Called to ra¬diate light and communicate life, in the end they are caught up in things that generate only dark¬ness and inner weariness, and slowly consume all zeal for the apostolate. For all this, I repeat: Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of the joy of evangelisation!" (Evangelii Gaudium I, 3; II, 83)
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    • What can I take from your story, Lord? The cards you dealt me, the talents with which I grew up, are different from other people’s: more than some, less than others. Am I to take risks with them? Try out different paths, with the danger of failing? And then learn from my failures? You are telling me not to bury my gifts, not to curl up in safe inertia, but to take risks and use them to the full. As Samuel Beckett said: No matter…Try again… Fail again… Fail better…
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    • Jesus is not careless about the poor but he recognises that some people impoverish themselves in turning away from God. If we have a readiness humbly to receive God’s grace, then God can bless us. People who prefer to rely on themselves will ultimately find themselves with very little. When we know that what we have is not ours, we allow God to give us more; if we get where we are purely by our own efforts, we do not get very far at all.
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    • A talent was originally a measure of weight. Metaphorically a talent now refers to a person’s innate ability. Physical and intellectual gifts if not exercised will atrophy. Likewise our spiritual gifts! The anxiety- ridden servant with his timid inactivity suffers the paralysis of a shut mind and stinginess too. The consequence? An ‘atrophied’ disciple!
    • Discipleship requires courage and risk-taking. Lord, let me discover my unique talents and use them in whole-hearted activity and worthwhile deeds of love. Deliver me, Lord, from becoming an ‘atrophied’ disciple through neglect, inactivity, or fear!
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    • I take a few moments with Jesus to review my talents and be grateful for them. Then I ask him if I am using them in ways that respond to the needs of those around me. So God’s concerns become my concerns too.
    • It is a wonderful thing that I should be able to bring joy to God. Jesus set out to please his Father (John 8:29), and my life takes on new colour when I do likewise.
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    • Before I think of what my talents might be and count them out, I turn to the One from whom all blessings come. Help me, God, to appreciate how I make a difference in the world. Refine me so that who I am may give glory to you.
    • The servants did not judge one another’s results nor did they look to the markets. Each stood honestly before the master, as I do now.
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    • What can I take from your story, Lord? The cards you dealt me, the talents with which I grew up, are different from other people's: more than some, less than others. Am I to take risks with them? Try out different paths, with the danger of failing? And then learn from my failures? You are telling me not to bury my gifts, not to curl up in safe inertia, but to take risks and use them to the full.
    • Being thankful brings energy to our Christian life and to our prayer. When prayer is dull, we may bring new life to our prayer by going over what we are grateful for in our lives. We realise how much we are gifted. Good prayer will encourage us to give back of what we have received. All we are and have in the Christian life is for the service of God in the service of the neighbour.
    • Wealth can lead to happiness, and can lead to generosity, if we remain masters of money rather than letting money, or its equivalent like property, personal or family reputation, or job, master us. The money in the ground made no extra money, but it gave no worries to the servant or the master while it was there! Money can contribute to happiness and can save us from many worries; but it can also engender anxiety and will never, of itself, make us happy. Jesus was one who founded his happiness on his relationship with God, and on the fulfilment of his mission in life. We can find a true happiness when our lives are guided towards God and live in the values of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
    • A central point of the parable is that the man entrusted his property to servants. God entrusts the world to us, to create a world of justice, peace, beauty and love with him. God entrusts the environment to us. Jesus has entrusted to us the future of his community, the church. in prayer we welcome this responsibility and do our best in all we do and say 'to do the world a world of good'.