Sunday, November 16, 2014

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

"Because you have proved trustworthy in managing a small amount, come and share your master's joy." ~Matthew 25:21

In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), the Master entrusted money to his servants and then set out on a journey. This was to help us understand how patient he is, though in my view this story also refers to the resurrection. Here it is a question not of a vineyard and vine dressers, but of all workers. The Master is addressing everyone, not only rulers, or the Jews.

Those bringing him their profit acknowledge frankly what is their own, and what is their Master’s. One says: “Sir, you gave me five talents; another says; You gave me two,” recognizing that they had received from him the means of making a profit. They are extremely grateful, and attribute to him all their success.

What does the Master say then? “Well done, good and faithful servant” (for goodness shows itself in concern for one’s neighbor). “Because you have proved trustworthy in managing a small amount, I will give you charge of a greater sum: come and share your Master’s joy.”

But one servant has a different answer. He says: “I knew you were a hard man, reaping where you have not sown and gathering where you have not winnowed; and I was afraid, and hid your talent.” “Here it is -- you have back what belongs to you.”

What does the Master say to that? “You wicked servant! You should have put my money in the bank,” that is, “You should have spoken out and given encouragement and advice.” “But no one will pay attention.” “That is not your concern. You should have deposited the money” he says, “and left me to reclaim it, which I should have done with interest,” meaning by interest the good works that are seen to follow the hearing of the word. “The easier part is all you were expected to do, leaving the harder part to me.”

Because the servant failed to do this, the Master said: “Take the talent away from him, and give it to the servant who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has more will be given, and he will have enough and to spare; but the one who has not will forfeit even the little he has.”

What is the meaning of this? That whoever has received for the good of others the ability to preach and teach, and does not use it, will lose that ability, whereas the zealous servant will be given greater ability, even as the other forfeits what he had.

St. John Chrysostom, c.347-407

Grant us, we pray, O Lord our God,
the constant gladness of being devoted to you,
for it is full and lasting happiness
to serve with constancy
the author of all that is good.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Collect for 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

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