By Mgr Anthony Abela
Use your talents Matthew 25:14-19, 24-30* 14 “At that time the Kingdom of heaven will be like this. Once there was a man who was about to go on a ourney ; he called his servants and put them in charge of his property.
15 He gave to each one according to his ability: to one he gave 5,000 gold coins, to another he gave 2,000, and to another he gave 1,000. Then he left on his journey.
16 The servant who had received 5,000 coins went at once and invested his money and earned another 5,000.
17 In the same way the servant who had received 2,000 coins earned another 2,000.
18 But the servant who had received 1,000 coins went off, dug a hole in the ground, and hid his master’s money.
19 After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them.
24 Then the servant who had received 1,000 coins came in and said: ‘Sir, I know you are a hard man; you reap harvests where you did not sow, and you gather crops where you did not scatter seed.
25 I was afraid, so I went off and hid your money in the ground. Look! Here is what belongs to you.’ 26 ‘You bad and lazy servant!’ his master said. ‘You knew, did you, that I reap harvests where I did not sow, and gather crops where I did not scatter seed?
27 Well, then, you should have deposited my money in the bank, and I would have received it all back with interest when I returned.
28 Now, take the money away from him and give it to the one who has 10,000 coins.
29 For to every person who has something, even more will be given, and he will have more than enough; but the person who has nothing, even the little that he has will be taken away from him.
30 As for this useless servant – throw him outside in the darkness; there he will cry and grind his teeth.’ ” For the full parable also read verses 20-23. Other readings: Prov 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31; Ps 128:1-5; 1 Thess 5:1-6 LECTIO On one level Jesus probably intended the religious leaders of his day to understand this parable as being directed against them. They behaved like the wicked servant, hiding God’s truth rather than making it a light for the world (Mt 5:14-16) and locking the doors to the kingdom of heaven rather than opening them (Mt 23:13-14).
The parable also speaks to us today about being good stewards of the gifts and resources God has entrusted to us. The master is going away so he entrusts different amounts of his money to three servants according to their abilities (verse 15). It is important to realise that a huge sum of money is involved. What is translated here as “gold coin” was a unit of money known as a “talent” which was worth over 15 years’ wages for a labourer at the time.
The servants that started with 5,000 and 2,000 coins are both congratulated for returning twice that amount to their master. But the servant who hid his master’s money, and has done absolutely nothing with it the whole time the master has been away, is condemned.
MEDITATIO What does verse 24 reveal about the attitude of the lazy servant to his master?
What is our attitude to our time and money? Do we consider they belong to us or to God?
Do we see ourselves as God’s servants using our gifts and resources to further God’s kingdom on earth?
What can we learn from the fact that the master gave the servants different amounts according to their ability?
ORATIO The Psalm for today is a “wisdom psalm”. It teaches that blessing is to be found in honouring God by living in obedience to him. Pray through these verses from Psalm 128 and ask God to help you to be a good steward of the talents he has entrusted to you.
CONTEMPLATIO Reflect on all the talents and resources God has given to you. Are you hiding them or are you using them for God’s glory?
Lectio divina is an ancient tradition of reading and engaging with God’s Word. These outlines for the Sunday Gospel readings are written by Mgr Anthony Abela and published by Bible Society. They can be downloaded free in several languages from Biblesociety.org.uk/ lectio. Bible Society is a charity that works towards a day when the Bible’s life-changing message is shaping lives and communities everywhere.
O 2008 United Bible Societies. Bible text Good News Translation, second edition O 1992 American Bible Society, New York