Gospel Reflection: 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Malvern Minute

 

NOVEMBER 19, 2017

THIRTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

ALLELUIA

Remain in me as I remain in you, says the Lord.

Whoever remains in me bears much fruit.

ALLELUIA

 

A Reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 25:14-30

Since you were faithful … share your master’s joy.

 

Jesus told his disciples this parable: “A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.  To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one– to each according to his ability.  Then he went away. Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five. Likewise, the one who received two made another two.  But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money.

After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them.  The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five.  He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents.  See, I have made five more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.  Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities.  Come share your master’s joy.’


Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents.   See, I have made two more.’  His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.  Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities.  Come share your master’s joy.


Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground.  Here it is back.’  His master said to him in reply, ‘you wicked, lazy servant!  So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter?  Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return? 


Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten.  For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”
 

The Gospel of the Lord

 

REFLECTION

Whenever anyone addresses the topic of stewardship, the use of one’s God given Time, Talent and Treasure, this Gospel passage is referenced.   On the surface this parable appears to be a rather simple story, but the details make it scrutinizing and challenging!  The story has similarity to other parables in which there is a king or wealthy land-owner who engages his servants in specific tasks … in this case the wealthy owner entrusted his possessions to them.  The transfer of his wealth was no small matter.  The unit of measure, the talent was the largest unit of money in the Greek world … about 60-70 pounds of silver.  The master must have had significant confidence in these servants. 

 

The actions of the first two servants pleased their master, and so he rewarded them very generously.  However, the third servant not only failed in his responsibility, but by his failure to act he revealed a deficiency in his relationship with his master.  While the master trusted the servant, the servant feared the master more than trusted him!

 

As disciples of the Lord, this parable requires us to chew on it awhile in order to decipher its application and personal significance.  No parable provides a perfect match with its implied references, namely, the master, a hard man is not a perfect reflection of God.  And, we are not sure whether the successful servants acquired the additional wealth in an honest or dishonest way.   Nevertheless, certain elements of this story give valuable insight as to the relationship we should have with God, and the way we should use our God-given gifts of faith, hope, and especially love!

 

Indeed, the good Lord has gifted each of us, and rightly so He expects us to imitate Him and use our blessings at the service of family and neighbor, and not just for ourselves.   In addition, I believe the parable reveals something even more pointed.  The fundamental motivation of every disciple must ultimately be our trust in the Lord and not our fear of Him.   Fear is debilitating, and enslaves one into being unable to act like it did to the third servant, and also the apostles who hid in the upper room because of their fear!  Only trust liberates one to take chances on behalf of God, to risk oneself on behalf of God.  Trust in God, love of God frees one to act boldly in the name of Jesus!

 

Renowned teachers in the early Church spoke of three fundamental relationships one might have with God.  The first level, and most basic relationship is that of a slave because it is built on fear.  The next level, a slight improvement on the first, is that of a servant because the essence of the relationship is built on pleasing the master and therefore winning his approval and benefits.  The third level and most significant relationship one can have with God is built on an awareness and trust that we are sons of the Eternal Father who has adopted us and blessed us with every good gift.  This relationship fosters a deep sense of gratitude and a response of love because the son knows that he/she does not deserve the love and gifts of the Father.

 

It is in our daily reflection on the Gospel of Christ and our heartfelt prayer in His presence that this gratitude and love develops and grows.  In prayer we hear the strengthening words of Christ that dispels fear: Don’t be afraid – Peace, be with you!   A son who trusts his Father, a disciple who trusts the Lord will risk more and more in loving service of his/her Lord and neighbor!

                                               

ENCOUNTERING THE DIVINE PHYSICIAN

HEALING OF THE PARALYTIC (LUKE 5: 17-26)

Consider joining the Men and Women of Malvern by deepening your personal relationship with Jesus and your commitment as a disciple through a weekend retreat.  See our website for details: MalvernRetreat.com

 

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