Money, interests, banks, settling accounts. This is what today’s parable speaks about, and hearing the parable makes you think you have just entered an Inland Revenue or VAT Department. The story told is about three individuals, each of whom receives a relatively huge amount of money from a wealthy man. The first two meet the investor’s expectations, but the third one’s actions greatly disappoint him.
Great entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos have been known to be very demanding when it came to their employees’ performance, all for the sake of excellence and profit. However, the Lord’s parable, which compels us to maximise our potential and make best use of it, has a significantly different twist.
It shows that the workers he speaks about – that is us – are ultimately labouring for their own personal success and not for the enrichment of the big man upstairs. The result of the hard work of the first two individuals is clear: “Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Mt 25,23). I remember being inspired as a youth by a statement I came across: “Don’t make a cemetery out of your life by burying your talents.”
In later years, I was edified by people who did the exact opposite: Ennio Doris who went from rags to riches and whose foundation supported thousands of underprivileged children; Mother Teresa, whose ministry has been bringing relief to countless poor people all around the globe; the Italian nun Elvira Petrozzi (who died recently at the age of 86) who was known as “the sister of drug addicts” because she founded Communità Cenacolo in several countries in order to help them overcome their addiction;
Nicholas James Vujicic, who embraced his condition of having no limbs and became a powerful Christian evangelist and motivational speaker; parents who have diligently raised their sons and daughters in spite of huge adversity; teachers who went the extra mile to facilitate their pupils’ learning; spouses who exercised their patience in difficult marital relationships; and many others.
Jesus said the wealthy man returned to settle accounts “after a long time”. That seemingly insignificant phrase alerts us to the fact that each of us has more than enough time to bring out the best of ourselves. Mark Twain once concluded a letter with these words: “I apologise for such a long letter – I didn’t have time to write a short one.” Brevity and conciseness need more thought and self-mastery.
Jesus reprimanded the man who temporarily buried his single talent... Nowadays, much of this continues through the abortion industry where human beings and their God-given talents are discarded and buried…
The good thing is that we all have enough time to make of our lives a graceful, valuable and fruitful experience – fruitful not only for ourselves, but most especially for others, which is actually why we have been given talents in the first place. Their purpose is not the exaltation of oneself, but the edification of others.
Through today’s parable, Jesus reprimanded the man who temporarily buried his single talent – a local currency of the time – in the ground. Nowadays, much of this continues through the abortion industry where human beings and their God-given talents are discarded and buried… literally!
It would come as no surprise if we were to discover that among them there may be, potentially, exceptionally brilliant artists and musicians; respectable politicians who would have laboured for the well-being of the people they would have governed; scientists who would have found cures for maladies such as cancer, to mention but a few examples. God alone knows how much human talent, out of the 200,000 abortions performed daily, is being thrown away.
Today’s parable spurs us on to make good use of our time and energy. However, it is not just about the duties and responsibilities that our gifts impose on us, but firstly about how precious each one of us is, for we have been entrusted with so much inner wealth and potential.