27TH AUGUST 2022
Feast Day of St Monicah
Our Today's Gospel passage consists of the parable of the Talents. We have constantly stated that parables are earthly stories with heavenly meanings. This parable in particular challenges is to emulate Our Master in using what God has given us for the sake of His Kingdom. Unfortunately this parable is among the most abused texts in the New Testament. Many present day Prosperity Gospel preachers use this parable does to justify a gospel of economic prosperity.
The parable is located in what Biblical scholars call Jesus’ eschatological discourse (24:1-25:46). In these discourses Jesus instructs his disciples to endure through difficult times and to live in anticipation of the Lord’s return. Like all the parables in this section, it exemplifies the certainty of the Lord’s coming and how the disciples are to live in the meantime.
In the parable of the talents, the master entrusts his servants with his property, and punishment awaits those who have failed to carry on the master’s work (24:49-51). The kingdom is not simply likened to a man on a journey, but to the story that follows — a story that illustrates how the disciples are to wait until the Lord comes.
In this story a wealthy man prepares for a journey by entrusting his estate to his servants.
A talent is equal to about 6,000 denarii. Since one denarius is a common laborer’s daily wage, a talent would be roughly equivalent to 20 years wages for the average worker. Five talents, the largest amount entrusted to any of the servants, is comparable to one hundred years worth of labor, an astronomical amount
The return of the master is certain, but the timing is unknown. After a long absence, he discovers what each servant has done with his property. The first two slaves do business with the master’s talents and double his money. Although the first slave earned more than the second, each has done remarkably well with what he has been given. They have performed according to their potential, and they have been faithful to do what the master has required of them. The master’s response to each is the same. He commends the slaves for being good and faithful, entrusts them with more authority, and invites them to enter his “joy.”
The third servant is not so fortunate. In the response of this slave, however, the audience learns even more about the master. He is a man who reaps where he does not sow and gathers where he has not scattered seed. The master reprimands the servant for failing to invest the money with the bankers so that he might have gained interest.
The master is furious. He had entrusted this servant with a portion of his property in order that the slave would use his abilities — abilities that had helped the master in the past — in order to turn a profit for his lord. This slave, however, was too afraid to take a risk — even though risky behavior was part of the master’s business. Instead, he attempted to secure his own well-being. In the end his unfaithfulness to carry on the master’s work cost him severely (25:30).
The master expected the servants to continue his business, to take risks to make a profit, and to emulate his behavior. Two servants were found faithful, and they are rewarded. Their faithfulness had increased the master’s wealth and expanded his estate.This parable depicts how the disciples are to demonstrate their faithfulness.
In Matthew’s Gospel faithfulness is emulating the ministry of Jesus. Jesus has announced the arrival of God’s kingdom by feeding the hungry, curing the sick, blessing the meek, and serving the least.
All who would follow Jesus are to preach the good news of the kingdom to the whole world (24:14) by going about the work that the master has called them to do (24:24-51). This work includes visiting the sick and imprisoned, clothing the naked, welcoming the stranger, and feeding the hungry (25:31-46). Those who are found faithful may hear their Master say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Happy Feast day of St Monicah