The Church turns her gaze towards the end of time when we will be judged by the Lord Jesus. Have we used the gifts and talents he has given us for his glory? Have we spent our time well? Have we sinned? Have we brought glory to his name? But at the heart of our judgment is the following question: who is the Lord Jesus? What is he to me?
All three servants in today’s Gospel call their master “master.” They understand he is above them. But the servant who made five talents and the servant who made three talents do not see their master as harsh. Rather, they see that he is generous. “Master, you gave me five talents.” “Master, you gave me two talents.”
In the ancient world, a talent was a small fortune. And so these servants understood that the small fortune they received was a gift. They couldn’t have made that amount of money on their own, and for the master to give them his own fortune deserved a response. They saw their master was generous, and so they did not squander his generosity but bore fruit: a profit of ten and four talents, respectively.
And the wicked servant? “Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter.” Notice the difference? The wicked servant begins with himself. He doesn’t see the master’s generosity or the immense gift he has received. He’s only concerned with his cut of the profit. Even though he received one talent, that one talent is more than he could ever make in his lifetime. And for his selfishness, for his squandering of such an immense gift, he is cast out because he failed to see the gift that the master gives.
So it is with us. St Bernard of Clairvaux once said that “true love doesn’t ask for a reward; it deserves one.” Though it just happens to be the case that the word “talent” comes to mean a sort of natural skill or gift – the talent to sing, to dance, or to cook – the talents we receive point us to the Giver: God himself. The talents we receive are indeed gifts, but they are gifts for God’s glory and for others, gifts deserving a response.
And the Father gives us the greatest treasure he can give: the love of Christ on the cross. This is the greatest gift we could receive because it is the love of the Bridegroom who dies to preserve his Bride the Church from all blemish and sin. May we see Christ’s generous love in our talents and lives, and so work with loving hands to give Jesus Christ the glory and honor he deserves when he returns again.
Joseph Yuson – St. Joseph Seminary, Edmonton, Alberta
Fot. Rod Long/Unsplash.com