November 19, 2017
We are likely to misunderstand the word “talent.” For us it means: “I’ve Got Talent” – artistic or athletic ability displayed in performance and competition. Originally “talent” was a weight to measure copper, silver or gold coins. In the parable of Jesus, a man going on a journey entrusts “talents” i.e. his wealth to three servants “each according to his ability.” The master expects that the servants will make an increase through their investment or industry. Two servants double their master’s investment in them. One servant, out of fear for the master for being a tough man, buries the treasure and then returns it with no gain. He loses everything. We must understand the parable in context. What is the point Jesus is making? In his preaching Jesus is announcing the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven. Some are receptive to the precious gift of God’s Reign and some are not. It is a critical time for all who are listening. They will be judged on how they decide and what they do with the time given to them. St. Paul writes to the Church at Thessalonica concerning “times and season.” He uses the Greek words “chronos” and “kairos.” “Chronos” denotes quantity or successive moments of time. “Kairos” refers to a decisive moment or quality time.
Fear can be both positive and negative. Out of fear one servant squanders the precious gift and time given to him. A “worthy wife” in our first reading, the Book of Proverbs, “fears the Lord” and her value is beyond pearls; her husband entrusts his heart to her; she brings him goodness; she uses her hands with crafts; she reaches out her hands to the poor and extends her arms to the needy. Fear or dread of God can cause anxiety and loss of zest for life. Fear as awe and wonder of God can enhance our living with generosity, gratitude, compassion and forgiveness. How will we receive the Kingdom of Heaven announced and inaugurated by Jesus? What will we do with the time given to us?
32nd Sunday Ordinary