33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
The gospel readings for the last few Sundays before the end of the Church calendar are intended to keep alive the vigilance of expectation so that Christ doesn't find us indolent and unprepared, and the devil doesn't rob us of the treasures of heaven. These are Sundays when we are reminded that to have faith means to make fruitful the talents that have been placed in our hands: the parable of the wise virgins (last Sunday's gospel) and the parable of the final judgement (I was hungry, thirsty, naked … and you gave me something to eat, something to drink …. which will be next Sunday’s gospel reading), and today’s gospel reading (the parable of the talents). We consider these three Sunday readings as vital in our preparation for the final end.
This Sunday’s parable provides us with a lot of lessons:
a. The parable tells us something about how God deals with us, his disciples and servants. The parable speaks first of the Master's trust in his servants. While he goes away he leaves them with his money to use as they think best. While there were no strings attached, this was obviously a test to see if the Master's workers would be industrious and reliable in their use of the money entrusted to them. The master rewards those who are industrious and faithful and he punishes those who sit by idly and who do nothing with his money.
b. To squander them on triviality, indecency, sensuality and frivolous pursuits is something that we will answer for one day. Our Master, the Lord Jesus Christ is going to return. When He does, he will have us account for how we used or misused our gifts. How are we using our gifts? The gift of music; prophecy; healing; teaching; preaching; love; servanthood, etc.? Is it for His glory or for your own? When He comes back, He will seek an answer.
c. The parable of the talents shows that God abhors indifference and an attitude that says it's not worth trying. God honors those who use their talents and gifts for doing good. Those who are faithful with even a little are entrusted with more! But those who neglect or squander what God has entrusted to them will lose what they have.
d. The Lord entrusts the subjects of his kingdom with gifts and graces and he gives his subjects the freedom to use them as they think best. With each gift and talent, God gives sufficient means (grace and wisdom) for using them in a fitting way. Here is an important lesson for us—no one can stand still, indifferent, unmoved for long in the Christian life. We either get more or we lose what we have. We either advance towards God or we slip back. Do you seek to serve God with the gifts, talents, and graces he has given to you?
e. The servant who buried the master's money was irresponsible. Unfortunately, sometimes we are like the third servant, the one who did not nurture his talent. We remain closed in our own comfort zones. We care too much about our peace of mind and of our routine, our own security. New challenges frighten us. Christ calls us to be his confident disciples that are not afraid of him and his challenges.
May the Lord help us to make good use of the gifts, talents, time, and resources He gave us for His glory and His kingdom.