Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle A

Thirty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Mt. 25.14-30

"The Kingdom of heaven is like …"

The Parable of the Talents begins by stating that “the kingdom of heaven is like a man on his way abroad.” Once again, we are offered a parable of the kingdom – another story from Jesus to illustrate the Reign of God's love in our lives. In the current financial conditions it could be tempting to explore the parable for guidance about risks with investments as opposed to caution with savings - whether in the bank or under the mattress! However, that would be to miss the point entirely. Jesus is not giving a lesson in economics; he has come to announce the kingdom of God's love, and his story is to do with our response to it.

It would be easy, but missing an important lesson, to focus only on the two “good and faithful servants” and to draw from them the simple lesson to use our God-given talents wisely and generously. But what about the third “wicked and lazy servant” whose one unproductive talent is taken from him? Listen again to what he says to the master: “I had heard you were a hard man … I was afraid … and I hid your talent in the ground.” A hard man? One who had just entrusted to him a huge sum of money, (one talent was worth an ordinary worker’s wages for twenty years) and that without conditions! Afraid? Of an obviously generous master who was waiting, longing, to offer him even more! Hiding his talent? Only to avoid any risk, playing so safe that he did nothing at all! This man is a victim of his own lack of trust.

Jesus is warning us here not to take the same approach to the merciful, gracious and compassionate God who will judge us all. The way of religion has too often been turned into a way of paralysing fear, a way of scruple and timidity. Jesus keeps telling us that God has invested his love in us and asks from us a life which follows the way of love.