“For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’
And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’
Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents.
For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Today’s Gospel, the Parable of the Talents, can be looked at from two perspectives. On the one hand, it is a reminder of the way our lives and the world can be richly blessed when we use our gifts and talents in a way that glorifies God. On the other hand, it is a cautionary tale of what happens when we squander our talents.
None of that is to say that we have a vengeful God who only cares about how hard we work and what results from it. Far from it! One way of looking at this parable is through the lens of consolation and desolation as it relates to Ignatian discernment. While these concepts are quite nuanced, in brief, we experience consolation when we are moving toward God’s active presence in the world, and we experience desolation when we are oriented away from God.
When it comes to the ways that I share my talents with the world, are my actions leading me toward or away from God? How can I share my gifts in a way that abundantly blesses others?
—The Jesuit Prayer team
Walk with me, good and loving God,
as I journey through life.
May I take Your hand
and be led by Your Holy Spirit.
Fill me, inspire me,
free me to respond generously to Your call.
For I believe You desire my deepest joy,
And it is only in Your company
That my soul will be satisfied
And my life will find its meaning and purpose.
—Discernment Prayer (Sisters of Notre Dame)Please share the Good Word with your friends!