The Parable of the talents, which we hear in this weekend’s Gospel, is a profound reminder of our call as disciples to use our gifts for the building up of the Kingdom of God. It also has much to teach us about what God expects from us as his disciples!
The beginning of the parable makes it clear that God makes an investment in each of us. He gives us talents according to our ability and our state in life. Notice that the person who received two talents didn’t grumble or complain about receiving less than the person who received five: he simply went out and did what he could with what he was given. The same is true for us. We shouldn’t compare ourselves to others, or ask why another person has received talents that we have not. We should simply ask “how is God calling me to use the talents he gave me to carry out the work of the Kingdom?”
At the end of the day, all God is asking of us is to demonstrate that we have used our talents to build up the Kingdom of God. Even if our actions seem small in comparison to the work that others have done, God will still reward our efforts and our faithfulness. That is why the master’s response to the fruitful labour of both servants is exactly the same. It’s important to remember that we all have different talents for a reason, according to God’s plan. If we use those talents to bear fruit in our lives, we will be rewarded for our efforts.
The Parable also cautions us to not hide our talents, or give into the fear that maybe we won’t use them correctly. The servant who buries his talent out of fear is called wicked and lazy, and chastised for not even making an effort to use what was given to him. Even doing some small action, which may not have completely doubled the talent, would have been better than doing nothing at all, since it would have shown gratitude for what had been given.
It’s not always easy to proclaim the Gospel as we live our lives. All to often, we do find ourselves facing fear of rejection or persecution, which can keep us from using our talents to do the work God has entrusted to us. This parable challenges us to ask God to help us overcome our fears, so that we can faithfully use the talents he has given to us, and inherit the promised reward of eternal life.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Steven Huber, CSB