Sunday, November 13, 2011
Well Done, Good And Faithful Servant! (Matthew 25:23)
“You have been faithful in small things; come and join in your master’s happiness.” (Matthew 25:21)
In today’s Gospel Matthew talks about using our God-given treasures and talents before time runs out. He places the parable of the talents in the context of end-times. There’s an air of unexpectedness and urgency. The talents in the passage are not human abilities but huge sums of money doled out by the master who will, undoubtedly, return. When? No one knows. The master returning “after a long time” indicates that the end-time is indefinite, not necessarily imminent. Matthew in this passage is addressing the time of the church -- the time between Christ's “going away” and “his return.”
Before taking off on his journey the master entrusted his servants with different talents. All of us have been given different talents no two individuals are identical with their talents, because God has created us uniquely. No amount of workouts, diets or plastic surgeries can change the fact, that each one is different from the other. It would be rather boring if we were all created with the same amount of gifts. We would be like a pile of bricks, no difference whatsoever in dimensions, appearances or substance. But God in his infinite wisdom creates lushest rainforests with various trees rather than a simple rose garden.
The Church also teaches that, the 'talents' are not distributed equally" (CCC 1936). In the Dialogues of St. Catherine of Siena, the Lord himself says to the saint, 'I distribute the virtues quite diversely; I do not give all of them to each person, but some to one, some to others... I shall give principally charity to one; justice to another; humility to this one, a living faith to that one... And so I have given many gifts and graces, both spiritual and temporal, with such diversity that I have not given everything to one single person, so that you may be constrained to practice charity towards one another... I have willed that one should need another and that all should be my ministers in distributing the graces and gifts they have received from me.' The trustworthy, faithful servants are those who invest wisely in their treasures, while the accursed one digs a hole and buries this talent. When you are entrusted with something valuable you become the master of that treasure, hence it is up to you how you manage and look after that gift. The best part of a God-given gift is that no thief can steal it away, it is yours forever, hence there’s absolutely no need to fear losing it.
The one who buried his treasure in the ground was unable to accept the responsibility given to him. He hid it and fled, maybe the thought of looking after this valuable put him under stress and he did not know how to deal with it, in the bargain he invites trouble, for what lies unused decays and dies. Are we like this one, who is afraid of what society thinks of us, that if we take risks we will be at the receiving end? Are we lazy or too shy to reach out to those in need? Do we fear launching out into the deep and hence sail too close to shore? If you don’t advance you definitely fall back. Today’s first reading says, “Open out hands to the poor and reach out hands to the needy” (Proverbs 31:20). Should not, the development of our ‘talents’ — personal and monetary – lead us to selflessly serve the human community and gift everything back to God? Can we willingly use our time and talents to build up God’s kingdom here on earth? Everything in life has been given to us by God, if you think you are self-made, you really need to think again. It is because the gracious hand of the Lord was upon us that we were able to progress and succeed in life (Nehemiah 2:8). If we feel blessed shouldn’t we be a blessing to someone else, if not, then this blessing has been buried (Matthew 25:29). We are only stewards, and everything must be “handed over” when the Master returns. And when we are faithful in these little things the Master will entrust us with greater ones and say to us, “well done, good and faithful servant; come and join in the joys of eternal life.”
"Lord God, Giver of extravagant gifts and graces, I thank you for your boundless blessings bestowed upon me. I pray dear Lord, that I may freely share your unmerited love with those in need."