The Parable of the Talents

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Last week we celebrated the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome and reflected on the Church, not only being the structural building, but also the People who come
together in belief and worship. This week we reflect on the different talents given by a master to three servants and their response to his challenge. A link between the two Gospel readings can be made. Like the servants in the Gospel, each of us has been given talents. The talents might be the money we have acquired or they might be the natural abilities or gifts we have. Either way, they are a gift given to us to be used for others. We are called to share within the Church and within our community. Within the Church, we can share our financial blessings as well as our time and talent. Within our community there are many opportunities to reach out and make life a bit more joyful for others.

Perhaps you have heard the story that in a highly competitive basketball tournament, the underdog team emerged as one of the finalists after winning one game after another. A few hours before the championship game, a reporter asked the coach, “No one was expecting your team to advance in the championship. What made your team win game after game?” The coach replied, “Everyone knew what he had to give. And each one gave more than what was expected from him.”

Hmmm…Each player gave more than what was expected of him. In the Gospel parable today, what was it that kept the one servant from producing more talents for his master? We all know the answer almost without hearing the story. Fear! He was afraid of his master and so he did nothing with what had been given him. He buried his talent and only gave back the bare minimum to the one that gave him the talent in the first place.

Jesus’ parable is about what we do with all that God has given us. As we read the parable, the question arises: “How are you managing all that God has given you?”

Perhaps fear, not self-consciously the fear of God – but fear of others…what others might think of us if we become involved, how well we might succeed or not succeed… is holding us back. We are the Church. We each have a responsibility within the church…not just to be present, but to serve in some role. Are we willing to put aside any personal fear and answer the needs of our parish and community?

On a very practical note, what was your reaction when you read the financial report last week? Did you think, what might we be able to do as families or as individuals to support our Church (the people of God) more? Our responsibility is to serve others….our Church is here to help us do that. If we want to continue to exist as a Church, it seems we must each look within and decide what we can and will do. It is not about burying our ‘talent’ or only doing the minimum… but about what we can do (big or little) to help.

I encourage each of us to take time this week to ponder our call to “be Church” and to use our ‘talents’ of money and natural abilities for others and then to take the steps to put our thoughts into action.

Peg Orzel